Govt. Effects 21-day Anti-Covid-19 National Lockdown
Government has announced a 21-day national lockdown beginning Saturday April 18th in on-going efforts to minimise the effect of the raging corona virus pandemic which has killed two.
Health minister Jappie Mhango made the announcement Tuesday night pursuant to section 31 of the Public Health Act.
Mhango said the lockdown will restrict the movement of people in order to minimize the spread of the virus just like is the case in some countries close to Malawi. The lockdown in Malawi shall last until midnight of the 9th day of May, 2020.
“We had to take a close, long and hard look at what is happening around us and make hard but yet helpful decisions that will curb the spread of this deadly virus. The more we wait to take action, the more the spread because there is now local transmission in the country,” he said.
The minister outlined persons that shall, however, been exempted from the application of the lockdown measures. These include:
- Enforcement officer as defined under the Public Health (Corona Virus Prevention, Containment and Management) Rules 2020
- A person with a permit to supply essential services as provided under
- During the lockdown, persons providing essential services as listed under Part 1 of the Schedule to the Public Health (Corona Virus Prevention, Containment and Management) Rules 2020 shall be allowed to operate in accordance to the Rules and these measures.
- All essential services shall be obtained within the locality of residence.
- Councils shall identify and licence persons for supply of essential goods and services to locality markets and shops.
- Any person desirous of getting an essential service out of his or her locality shall get a permit from the local government authority or any delegated person to issue such permits by the local government authority. In the same vein, any person desirous of getting an essential service out of his or her district of residence shall get a permit from the Chief Executive Officer or District Commissioner of the local government authority.
- Except for enforcement officers, no person shall be allowed to leave their homes unless they are listed under Rule 11(3)(a)(i) of the Public Health (Corona Virus Prevention, Containment and Management) Rules 2020.
- All central markets shall be closed. Notwithstanding the generality of the preceding measure, local markets within localities shall remain open from 5:00 am to 6:00 pm on any day.
- Local government authorities shall designate areas as localities for purposes of implementing these measures.
During the lockdown all non-essential businesses or services will be suspended pursuant to these measures and Regulation 13(2) of the Business Licensing Regulations.
The major sequence of events for our national response to the Coronavirus pandemic have been as follows: -
- Declaration of State of Disaster by His Excellency the President on 20th March, 2020 pursuant to Disaster Preparedness and Relief Act (Cap 33:05 of the Laws of Malawi)
- Declaration of the Corona Virus Disease as a formidable Disease on 1st April, 2020 pursuant to the Public Health Act (Cap 34:01 of the Laws of Malawi) in my capacity as Minister of Health
“Since its establishment and within its broad mandates, the Committee has tirelessly engaged relevant sectors to come up with proactive measures at first to prevent COVID 19 from being imported into the country. You will also recall unlike most countries including those surrounding us, Malawi only confirmed its first three cases at the beginning of April, 2020. This necessitated our immediate response because we had to think of not only preventive measures but also containment and case management strategies,” Mhango said noting “The pandemic continues to hit all countries including Malawi very hard. In our case as I reported yesterday through a press conference, the number of confirmed cases has risen from 3 on April, 2 to 19 as I speak today. Two lives have been lost in the process”.
Government says people who shall breach the measures commits an offence and shall be liable to a fine as prescribed under the Public Health Act.
Minister Mhango says the specific guidelines regulating the lockdown will be made available from Wednesday through national radio and TV stations.