Malawi president orders COVID-19 preventive measures enforcement as new cases, deaths soar

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Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera has called for immediate enforcement of COVID-19 safety guidelines amid high figures of new cases and deaths.

President Chakwera made the call on Sunday in his weekly radio address in which he blamed the current COVID-19 surge on laxity in observing the preventive measures during the festive period.

On Saturday alone, the country registered 381 new cases, the highest daily increase since the first cases were reported in April 2020, and 12 deaths, among them the country’s renowned figurehead in broadcasting, stage drama and music, Maria Chidzanja Nkhoma.

The pandemic has also hit President Chakwera’s cabinet where at least six ministers have been infected and they are at various stages of recuperation.

Chakwera has since warned Malawians against laxity in adhering to COVID-19 preventive measures to secure the gains thus made prior to the surge.

“I have directed Ministers of Homeland Security, and Health to scale up the enforcement of COVID-19 safety guidelines with immediate effect.

“We must keep each other safe by obeying guidelines, including early closures of drinking places and restrictions on public gatherings,” he said.

Meanwhile, the prevalence of the pandemic has been reported in the country’s higher learning institutions, religious institutions, and government working places.

There are fears schools may close again if the virus keeps accelerating.

However, the Ministry of Education said Saturday that they are “closely monitoring the situation and working in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19”.

According to Saturday’s official COVID-19 update, Malawi has carried out 94,601 tests with 8,306 confirmed cases, 5,809 recoveries, and 220 deaths.