Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo-Chiponda says the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 was ready to soften up on public gathering restrictions in sports, but it changed its plan after a presidential order.
During his weekly Covid-19 address, President Lazarus Chakwera last month declared that Covid-19 restrictions should not be relaxed until after the Easter holiday.
Chiponda, who is also co-chairperson of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, was responding to a question on why the task force has not fulfilled its pledge to relax the restrictions when the positivity rate drops to less than five percent.
As of Sunday, the positivity rate was at 3.8 percent.
Said the minister in an interview yesterday: “We had already planned to soften up on some restrictions in sports, but we found ourselves in a tight spot when the President said that the restrictions should not be relaxed until after Easter period.
“We had actually decided to increase the public gathering [for sports] to 100 people.
“So, yes, as of yesterday [Sunday], it was at 3.8 percent, but it keeps on fluctuating, but if it will be below five percent by the time we meet again on Thursday, then we will review the restrictions.”
Super League of Malawi (Sulom) president Tiya Somba-Banda yesterday said it is proving a challenge to organise a match with a maximum of 50 people, including players from both teams.
He said: “It has been quite a tall order since we resumed the games, but with the cooperation from stakeholders such as the teams, we are trying.
“We are just thankful to the teams for adhering to our plea and hopefully the situation will get better.”
When Sulom decided to resume the top-flight league on April 2, the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19expressed its concern through a letter, saying the league had resumed without its approval nor that any government ministry.
But Sulom went ahead with its arrangement, insisting that they were adhering to the restriction of public gathering to 50 people.