Malawi to Demand Covid-19 Test Certificates From Returnees

11 January 2021

Government will now be demanding Covid-19 test certificates from returnees on arrival at borders following violent protests yesterday by returnees from South Africa who were demanding that they be released from a quarantine centre in Blantyre before their covid-19 test results were out.

A number of structures at Mapanga Prison Training School in Blantyre were damaged by the returnees who had come a day earlier from South Africa.

Minister of Health, who is also Co-chair of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda said the actions by the returnees has forced the government to revisit its policy on returnees on Covid-19 protocols, saying they will now be asked to produce a covid-19 test certificate.

Until yesterday, the government bore the cost of testing the returnees.

Kandodo Chiponda also said the government will maintain the Mapanga prison training school facility as the quarantine centre for the returnees.

"No retreat, no surrender, Mapanga remains institutional quarantine for returnees," she says.

Chimwemwe Shaba spokesperson for Malawi Prison Service said the rioters who have just returned from South Africa were demanding their immediate release despite not getting their COVID-19 test results.

Shaba said the rioters have damaged a number of structures at the facility during the fracas and police are currently keeping in cooler ring leaders of the commotion.

Calm has returned at the place and maintenance works on the buildings have began this morning.

Kandodo Chiponda described the development as retrogressive and saddening.

"As Government, our core mandate is ensuring safety for all and I should stress here that we will not back down in enforcing COVID-19 prevention measures," said Chiponda.

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