Malawi Police Arrest People for Not Wearing Face Mask in Public

11 August 2020

Malawi Police Service on Monday swept Lilongwe of people who were not putting on face masks.

Following the gazetting of the Coronavirus legislation, signed and issued by Health Minister Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, failure by any person to wear a face mask in public is an offence that attracts a K10 000 fine upon conviction.

National police spokesperson James Kadadzera has confirmed that the police are now arresting people who did not put on face masks.

He could, however not say how many people have been arrested.

Once arrested, the unmasked people will be brought before a court where they would be fined K10,000.

Meanwhile, Kadadzera says the police would only arrest people in public passenger vehicles without masks, not those in private vehicles.

He said public vehicles examples include buses, minibuses, taxis and all those vehicles

that have red registration number plates.

"If you are driving in your private vehicle and you do not have a mask on, police will not arrest you for not putting on a mask because this is your private vehicle.

"But if you get out of the car and are wandering about, without a mask on, you will be arrested and fined K10,000," he says.

He says it is mandatory for all those in public vehicles to put on masks.

Minister of Health Chiponda has said the gazette of Covid-19 rules is not meant to punish Malawians but to help control further spread of the pandemic.

Government, through the same Coronavirus laws, has also banned public gatherings of more than 10 people, except a funeral (restricted to 50 people only), a meeting of the National Assembly and a meeting convened to discuss Covid-19 interventions.

In the new rules, public gatherings have also been limited to a maximum of 10 people, including places of worship.

In the transport sector, vehicles and other modes of transport are limited to 60 percent of their normal capacity, passengers are to wear masks and ensure that they are sanitised.

On entertainment, bars will operate operate from 2pm to 8pm, and people will only be allowed to buy on a take-away basis. Restaurants and other food outlets are to ensure social distancing for customers and operate only between 6am and 9pm.

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