By Lily Kampani
Lilongwe, Government through coronavirus legislation has banned gatherings of more than 10 people with the exception of funerals limited to 50, national assembly and meetings convened to discuss Covid-19 interventions as a means of containing the alarming rise of Covid-19 cases in the country.
The gazette legislation is known as public health Coronavirus and Covid-19, Prevention, Containment and Management Rules, 2020 affects religious gatherings, weddings and traditional engagements and contravention of the law will attract a fine of K100,000 and a three-month prison term.
Speaking at a press briefing in Lilongwe on Sunday, Minister of Health, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda said there is need for collective practice of preventive and containment measures to stop the virus from spreading and causing damage to more lives.
“The government is doing everything possible to stop the disease from spreading including surveillance and contact tracing, case management, logistics and supplies and increasing laboratory capacity to ensure that Covid-19 testing is available across the country,” she explained.
Chiponda cautioned that at the rate with which Covid-19 is spreading, there is need to treat everyone one meets as a potential carrier of the virus therefore strictly follow all the preventative measures.
Attorney General, Dr Chikosa Silungwe said the rules which came into effect on August 8, 2020 are there to convert measures into legal framework assisting in the fight against the Coronavirus.
“The law will empower designated people including police officers, traditional authorities and health officers to enforce the rules such as social distancing, hand washing and mandatory mask wearing in public,” said Silungwe.
He added that only essential services such as health and medical services, banking, legal, water and disaster management are exempted from some of the strict measures.
“Hospitality and recreational facilities such as bars and restaurants will be allowed to operate only within a certain set period of time and only offer takeaway services. Hospitality services will only be allowed to offer room service,” he stated.
As of August 8, the country has recorded 4,624 cases including 143 deaths bringing the case fatality rate to 3.1 per cent.