Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera has cautioned his compatriots to take all preventive measures to stop the current surge in coronavirus cases and deaths the country has witnessed “in the last three weeks.”The situation has become so serious that 75% of the victims “have died in the last three weeks,” Chakwera said, blaming “community transmissions as opposed to foreign sources coming into the country as was the case in the beginning.”
Implying that Malawians were not taking the pandemic seriously, the new president said in his televised speech on Saturday that the misconception that young people were immune from getting infected with Covit-19 was “wrong.”
“If you think that you cannot be infected with Covid-19 because you are young, you are wrong,” Chakwera said, as his Vice President Saulos Chilima attentively listened sitting at a nearby chair.
The president is expected to host an inauguration ceremony on July 6, the country’s Independence Day.
He said he had scaled down the celebrations to allow the attendance of only 20,000 spectators in order to maintain social distance at the 40,000-seat Bingu National Stadium in the capital Lilongwe.
And to reduce passing on the virus among the attendees, he added that the government would provide 100,000 masks to those who come to the ceremony without any such tools.
Washing hands and temperature-taking would also be included as part of the event’s preventive measures at the new Chinese-built stadium, he said.
Noting that others had observed it would be better to cancel the ceremony due to Covid-19, the president argued that Malawians should learn to prevent the disease for now because life must go on.
“We must strike a balance between public safety and social functioning of our country,” he said.
He added: “The best thing is to take preventive actions as if you are infected with the virus yourself, and you are trying to protect the others from it.”
He said his government would soon announce more Covid-19 measures.
Malawi never locked the economy down due to a court injunction civil organisations took against the government order to do so.