As Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic continues ravaging the world, Blantyre City Council (BCC) has instituted a ban on street vending, weddings, parties and other social gatherings with immediate effect.
Addressing journalists at a briefing at the Civic Centre Offices on Monday March 30, 2020, mayor of Blantyre City Wild Ndipo said much as they are aware of the economic implications of the ban particularly on street vending, the issue of COVID-19 is a matter of life and death and as a council they cannot compromise on life.
On funerals, Ndipo has advised conveners to take precautionary measures by limiting the number of attendees to funerals and making sure there are buckets of water and soap for people to wash their hands.
“We ask for collaboration among all stakeholders in the implementation of this ban. Apart from relying on the police, we are also urging every resident in the city to take responsibility by reporting to authorities those who choose to defy the order.
“We will look into measures to make sure our markets are not crowded, we will observe church gatherings and shops to make sure they abide to the underlying prevention measures,” said Ndipo.
Residents have also been encouraged to call a toll-free line 54747 to report those defying the order or for further advice on anything in relation to the coronavirus outbreak.
Highlighting that Malawi has no confirmed coronavirus case, Dr Titus Divala of the Society of Medical Doctors called on Malawians to trust the credibility of the coronavirus test results being shared by health experts adding that the diagnostic tests being done in Malawi are the same as those being done in other countries such as the USA.
The epidemiologist challenged all Malawians to follow all the underlying precautionary measures particularly considering that the disease is incurable.
Said Divala: “Covid-19 is deadly; it has no cure or vaccine and worse still, here in Malawi we do not have enough facilities to take care of the sick. The disease destroys the lungs and all what the hospital can do is support you to be strong to fight the disease using your immune system. Prevention is key hence everybody has to follow the current guidelines 100 percent and stop believing in myths.”
He said all those having Covid-19 like symptoms or in need of any help in relation to the disease should call a toll free-line 08887437288 for guidance and advice on what to do.
In his remarks, Officer in Charge for Blantyre Police Ellobiam Banda said the police are ready to reinforce the ban and all orders in relation to prevention of Covid-19.
“We have met the vendors and our expectation is that they will cooperate to this order because this is for their own good and for the good of the country,” he said.
On March 11, World Health Organisation announced that Covid-19 was a pandemic.
President Peter Mutharika on March 20 2020 declared the State of Disaster and set up a K15 billion fund to deal with the crisis. He also banned public gatherings and ordered closure of schools as part of drastic measures to cut densification.