Blantyre — The Malawi Airlines has temporarily suspended all flights between Lilongwe or Blantyre and Johannesburg effective Friday 27 March, 2020 until Thursday 16 April 2020.
According to a Flight advisory by Malawi Airlines issued on Tuesday, the suspension was as a result of national lockdown announced by South African government.
"The Government of the Republic of South Africa has announced national lockdown from midnight on Thursday 26 March 2020 until midnight on Thursday 16 April 2020.
"This means our last operation to Johannesburg will be on Thursday 26 March 2020,"reads the advisory.
The airline has also further suspended some of its flights to Nairobi, Dares Salaam, Lusaka and Harare in response to the travel restrictions due to COVID-19 situation.
"Effective Wednesday 25 March 2020 until further notice, all flights to Nairobi are suspended.
"Effective Wednesday 01 April 2020 to Thursday 30 April 2020, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday flights from Lilongwe or Blantyre to Dare Salaam are suspended. Wednesday, Friday and Sunday flights from Dare Salaam to Blantyre or Lilongwe are also suspended.
"Further, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday flights from Lilongwe to Lusaka and Harare are suspended," further advised Malawi Airlines.
COVID-19, which is now a global issue, was first discovered in December 2019 in Wuhan City in China. It is believed that the disease originated from animals such as bats and it has now affected humans.
In January, 2020, World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic as it has spread to all over the world with all continents registering cases of the disease.
As of Monday COVID-19 updates 43 African countries reported a total of 1,436 positive cases with Egypt topping the list with 327 cases seconded by South Africa with 274.
President Peter Mutharika on Friday 20 March declared a State of Disaster which has seen closure of all schools by Monday, 23rd March, suspension of hosting of international meetings, restriction on public meetings such as weddings, church congregations and rallies among others, to less than 100 people and banning travel of foreign nationals from countries highly affected by the disease among others.