Malawi Govt Rejects Chilima's Solutions to COVID-19 Fight - Mutharika Holds 'Prerogative' Over Choice of Place to Be

Government says President Peter Mutharika holds the prerogative over the choice of the place to be, saying the country's vice-president Saulos Chilima cannot dictate to the Head of State to leave Sanjika Palace in Blantyre and relocate to Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe.

Minister of Information Botonami dismisses Chilima's litanty of solution to Covid-19 fight Chilima: Extraordinary moments require extraordinary people or leaders to take extraordinary measures.

Minister of Information and government spokesperson Mark Botomani was reacting to Chilima's call at a news conference at the UTM Digital Command Centre in Area 10, Lilongwe, that Mutharika should immediately return to Kamuzu Palace to coordinate coronavirus (Covid-19) issues from the capital city.

"In any case, the President has been leading the fight against Covid-19 while in Blantyre," Botomani said.

On Chilima's call that the government should refurnish State House lodges such as Zomba, Mtunthama, Chikoko Bay in Mangochu and Mzuzu Lodges to be places for treatment when Covid-19 increases, Botomani said the government is well set by preparing several places.

"Actually, even in countries that are worst hit, we have not seen state lodges turned into treatment centres.

"It is in that regard that alternative places like stadiums have been turned into treatment centres," the minister said.

He said that the Malawi College of Health Sciences campus have already been earmarked in case of increases and this is also in alignment to the proximity of trained medical personnel.

On assertions that the country do not even have enough ventilators to treat even 100 Covid-19 patients, Botomani disclosed that Malawi has over 20 ventilators available in public hospitals.

"We are lucky that so far most of our patients have mild symptoms and do not need ventilators," he said.

The minister said the government, through UNICEF, is procuring more equipment for Covid-19 management, assuring, so far, there is no need for alarm.

The Vice-President, who provided a litany of solutions to government to contain the virus, including that Mutharika and his Cabinet members instead of fcommitting 10 percent of their salaries to the Covid-19 fight, the gesture is "too little and insignificant" hence they should increase to at least donate 50 percent of their salaries and fuel allocations.

Government has flatly rejected such a call.

Chilima, who is UTM Party president, also wondered why the country only has three testing centres--two in Blantyre and one in Lilongwe--with none in the Northern and Eastern regions.

Meanwhile, Principle Secretary forMinistry of Health Dr. Dan Namarika on Thursday said Malawi has not registered any positive Covid-19 case in the last 24 hours.

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