Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo-Chiponda says the plan to ease Covid-19 restrictions on spectators at football matches has been delayed to allow medical experts analyse the situation on the ground.
Ahead of the TNM Super League clash of giants between Mighty Wanderers and Nyasa Big Bullets, the minister, who is also co-chairperson of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, said they would consider allowing half capacity at football stadia starting from last week.
But in an interview at the weekend, Kandodo-Chiponda said: “I urge the football fraternity to bear with us a bit because the experts are currently analysing the situation so that we try as much as possible to avoid the third wave, especially now that winter is here. So, we have to take extra caution.
“We will be meeting as a task force on Tuesday where the issue will be tabled and a determination will be made.
“We are also taking into consideration that the [TNM] Super League first round is heading towards the end.”
The minister reiterated that as a task force, they are aware of how the sports industry has been affected, especially players.
“We understand that sports is not a mere entertainment for our players who depend on it for a living.
“But for now, the public gathering restriction remains at 250,” she said.
But while the restrictions are still being enforced on football matches, it is business as usual in other sectors, notably government officials and politicians, including President Lazarus Chakwera and Vice-President Saulos Chilima as they have addressed thousands of people during their engagements last week.
A Blantyre-based Bullets fan Chikondano Smart said: “The leaders continue to enforce restrictions at football matches when they are doing exactly the opposite when addressing gatherings. This is not fair.”
There was also a notable big turnout during Saturday’s TNM Super League match between Silver Strikers and Nyasa Big Bullets at Silver Stadium in Lilongwe.