The Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 has urged people to observe preventive measures on voting day to avoid spreading the pandemic.
Task force co-chairperson Dr John Phuka said in an interview on Sunday the country is witnessing an increase in both confirmed cases and deaths; hence, the need for people to be careful.
By Saturday, Malawi had recorded 730 cases, including 11 deaths, with 110 new Covid-19 cases reported on that day alone.
Said Phuka: “At the rate we are going, much as many of these cases are being imported, but we need to understand that even local transmission is also growing. Deaths have sharply risen as well.
“The challenge is people may not know that someone has tested positive for Covid-19. So, it is important that as they go to vote, social distancing and all other measures must be adhered to. We had a meeting with the Malawi Electoral Commission [MEC] and they outlined measures that will be followed.”
The task force leader stressed that those who are under quarantine should not visit polling centres, as going to such places will worsen the situation.
“While they have the right to vote, as a country we are faced with a serious pandemic. Our call is that those under quarantine should remain under quarantine,” he added.
Speaking during a National Elections Consultative Forum (Necof) meeting on June 18 in Lilongwe, MEC chairperson Justice Chifundo Kachale said political party leaders and their followers during the just-ended campaign rallies displayed little regard to the pandemic.
Notwithstanding the conduct of party leaders, Kachale said the commission has put in place measures to protect voters from contracting or spreading the virus.
“Each polling centre will have a bucket of water for voters to wash hands before they proceed to their respective polling stations. Voters are also encouraged to bring their own personal protective wears like masks and hand sanitisers.
“Voters will be queuing two arms apart. Ushers will be trained to control each queue. Polling staff will also be given hand sanitisers and masks, among other wares,” he said.
Out of the 730 total conformed cases, 258 have recovered, bringing the total number of active cases to 461, while 10 790 Covid-19 tests in 34 Covid-19 testing sites have been made.
According to daily updates from the Ministry of Heath, the average age of the cases is 32 years, the youngest case is aged one, the oldest is 78 and 70 percent are male.