Malawi closes borders as Covid-19 cases increases

Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera

Rustenburg – Malawi has closed its borders following a spike in Covid-19 cases and is also restricting numbers at public gatherings including religious ones to no more than 100 people, local media reported.

The presidential taskforce on Covid-19 said borders should be closed for two weeks with effect from December 22, according to a report by news website Malawi 24.

Information Minister Gospel Kazako said only Malawians returning home and people providing essential services would be allowed to enter through the borders.

Airports will remain open because, as the taskforce argued, it is easier to track people arriving in the country through that avenue.

Malawi has recorded 6 221 cases in total of the coronavirus first detected in China a year ago. Of these, 187 people have died while 5 675 have recovered. About 1 275 infections were imported while 4 927 were locally transmitted.

On Monday 41 new cases were reported, of which 38 were imported.

Broadcast station Zodiak reported that 23 buses carrying repatriated Malawians from South Africa arrived at the Mwanza border post on December 18.

The government has previously faced resistance in trying to enforce measures aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.

In July, newly appointed Attorney-General Chikosa Silungwe urged the presidential task force on Covid-19 not to implement restrictions as there was an injunction in place against them.

In April the Lilongwe High Court granted an injunction to the Human Rights Defenders Coalition, bottle store owners and some residents preventing then-President Peter Mutharika against locking down the country.

Mutharika had wanted to impose a 21-day lock down from April 18.

African News Agency (ANA)