Malawi would require about K150 billion (about $200 million) for the implementation of a national coronavirus (COVID-19) preparedness and response plan, President Peter Mutharika has said.
Mutharika said this on Tuesday late at night when he announced that the landlocked southern African country will implement a 21-day lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus that has claimed two lives.
In a televised national address monitored by Nyasa Times on State broadcaster Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC), Mutharika said fighting Coronavirus is a "challenging war for everyone, everywhere. It is also a very expensive war."
He said: "As a nation, we require about MK150 billion for the implementation of the National COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Plan."
Mutharika warned that up to 50,000 lives could be lost if measures were not put in place to spread the of the virus in the southeastern African country.
"We need to unite," appealed Mutharika.
"Let me once again appeal to all political leaders that we need to join our hands in fighting this Coronavirus pandemic.
"Noone must take advantage of the suffering of people and politicize Coronavirus. This is not a time for politics. This is a time for saving lives," said the Malawi leader.
The lockdown will be effective from midnight on Saturday and will end on May 9.
Mutharika cautioned that lockdown may be extended beyond 9th May "as circumstances warrant."
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