The United States of America (US) Embassy and the British High Commission have instituted measures like travel restrictions to some regions, teleworking and allowing overseas staff travel where they feel safe as preventative measures against coronavirus (Covid-19).
In written responses on the disease, both offices said they put priority on health and safety of their employees.
US Embassy public affairs officer Douglas Johnston said in response to Covid-19, the embassy is providing workplace flexibility to all staff.
He said: “The State Department has authorised the voluntary departure from any diplomatic or consular post of US Government personnel and family members who have determined they are at a higher risk of a poor outcome if exposed to Covid-19 or who have requested departure based on a commensurate justification.”
Johnston added that the US Mission in Malawi continues to operate and all US Government agencies are working with implementing partners to maintain critical services while protecting implementing partners, staff and beneficiaries.
On its part, the UK Government said they have so far committed up to £241 million (K208.7 billion) to support global efforts to combat Covid-19. This includes £16 million (about K12.9 billion) for humanitarian partners to help the most vulnerable countries tackle coronavirus; £10 million (about K8.6 billion) for WHO to respond to the outbreak; and up to £5 million(about K4.3 billion) to develop quicker diagnosis methods.
British High Commission charge d’ affaires Gary Leslie said as countries respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, they have advised British people against all but essential international travel.
He also said they have also advised people who live in the UK and are currently travelling abroad to return immediately while there are still commercial routes available and that British people who are permanent residents overseas should follow the advice of authorities in their host country.
“Given the rapidly changing situation we have temporarily withdrawn a limited number of UK staff and their dependents from our overseas network, including Malawi. We will continue to carry out essential work including providing 24/7 consular assistance and support to British people in Malawi,” he said.
President Peter Mutharika last Friday banned public gatherings and ordered closure of schools as part of drastic measures to cut densification.