Malawi Announces New Strict COVID-19 Lockdown - Funerals to Be Allowed With 50 People

The Special Cabinet Committee on coronavirus (Covid-19) has announced strict new curbs on life in Malawi to tackle the spread of the outbreak.

Minister of Information, ICT and Civic Education Mark Botomani speaks during the presser on measures towards COVID-19 prevention-pic by Lisa Kadango Minister of Local Government Dr Ben Malunga Phiri delivers a statement on Measures his ministry has taken as regards to COVID-19-pic by Lisa Kadango Minister of Health Jappie Mhango confers with Minister of Local Government on measures put in place towards COVID-19 prevention -pic by Lisa Kadango

Announcing the measures, the committee chaired by Minister of Health Jappie Mhango said the country faced a moment of national disaster and that government is also stopping all social events, including weddings, religious gatherings and other ceremonies - but funerals will be allowed.

In his remarks, Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Ben Phiri said among others, bars and any social gathering have been banned during the virus crisis.

The following services are exempt from the lockdown suspension:

Health and sanitation services

Pharmaceutical and drug stores

Utility services and veterinary services

Grazing of cattle

Operation of maize mills.

The Cabinet Committee said funerals will still be going ahead and shall be attended by not more than 50 people.

Among the new lockdown measures, no restaurant shall be allowed to operate except on condition that they offer services on take away basis.

All mobile markets have been suspended. These include Bembeke, Thabwa and Kampepuza.

Minister Mhnago said these measures are under constant review and could therefore be subject to change.

Malawi was one of the last African countries to detect cases of the virus, announcing its first three on 2 April.

The number of recorded infections has since risen to eight, with one death.

Malawi has not registered any positive virus case in the last 24 hours, Principle Secretary for Health Dr. Dan Namarika said on Thursday.

Scientists have said each person with coronavirus infects 2.5 people and that takes about five days. This means, over a period of 30 days, more than 400 people will have been infected as a result of that one person.

If a person halves their social exposure, that first infection leads to only 15 infections after 30 days.

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