All pubs to operate from 14:00hrs to 20:00hrs for take aways only

* Government for strict enforcement of COVID-19 preventive measures

* Enforcement of wearing of face masks in public

* Use of hand washing facilities with soap at all times in public service institutions

* Councils should ensure regular collection of refuse

* All markets should be fumigated on weekly basis

By Duncan Mlanjira

All bottle stores, pubs, bars and clubs shall be required to operate from 14:00hrs to 20:00hrs for take aways only as Government announces stricter enforcement of the COVID-19 preventive measures following the upsurge of the second wave of the pandemic.

Minister Kandodo-Chiponda

At a press briefing in Lilongwe on Thursday, co-chairperson of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19, Khumbize Kandondo Chiponda, said the government is concerned with the increase in numbers on COVID-19 cases, which as of Thursday evening was at 1,407.

She said the government is going to strictly enforce the prevention measures as gazetted last year under Rules and Regulations for Prevention, Management and Containment of Corona Virus disease.

The strict enforcement in order to contain the further spread of the virus includes that no one should be seen in public space without a face mask on.

In this regard, all Local Government Authorities (LGAs) should intensify enforcement of measures to prevent, manage and contain the second wave of the pandemic

The Minister’s statement said these measures reflect previous restrictions and guidelines that were put in place initially, but were slightly relaxed and led to the current escalated level of infections and widespread across the country.


· Enforcement of wearing of face masks and use of hand washing facilities with soap at all times in public service institutions and at all trading premises including mobile markets and on road side vending sites. 

· Water and sanitation buckets should be put at visible places and be used at all times.

· Strict enforcement of hand washing and usage of hand sanitizers in markets, offices, business premises and other public facilities.

· Entry of customers into trading premises and public service institutions should be limited to a minimum number of customers at a time and ensure that a social distance of not less than one metre apart inside the premises is always adhered to.

· Councils should ensure regular collection of refuse and other wastes from public places and fumigate all markets on weekly basis.

· The Sanitation Enforcement Teams should conduct weekly inspections of all markets.

Gatherings like this banned

Public Gatherings

· The number 100 has been maintained for all gatherings, and this rule will be under strict enforcement.

· Ensure strict enforcement that all bottle stores, pubs, bars and clubs shall be open from 14:00hrs to 20:00hrs for the purpose of buying and drinking at home, including in all hospitality facilities. 

· Fast food outlets, restaurants and public eating places shall ensure strict observance of the Covid rules and regulation. Where such enforcement is not possible, the operator should provide for take away services only.

Thursday’s situation report


· People attending funerals should comply with social distance restrictions, and shall always put on masks. 

· Dead bodies shall be laid to rest within 24 hours. 

· No communal preparation of food shall be allowed during funeral ceremonies. 

· Funeral houses should not be occupied by more than 4 people at a time.

Malawian returnees from abroad

Cumulatively, Malawi has recorded 7,611 cases including 203 deaths and of these cases, 1,616 are imported infections and 5,995 are locally transmitted.

The Minister disclosed that government has identified Mapanga Police Training School where all Malawian returnees from South Africa will be quarantined if found positive.

The government has also increased the number of testing centres where people can go for testing.

In his Thursday situation report, co-chairperson of the presidential taskforce on COVID-19, Dr. John Phuka said all contacts of the confirmed cases will be tested whether symptomatic or not.

He also said the COVID-19 testing services are also available at Central Hospitals for in patients or outpatients that have been picked up as suspects by the clinicians and also for those requiring COVID-19 testing for traveling purposes.

He reminds the public that the Central Hospitals does not provide walk-in services for COVID-19 testing apart from those requiring testing for travel.

“For those with symptoms, suspected cases and contacts the services are free of charge while COVID-19 testing services for travellers are at a fee.

“The chances of one recovering from COVID-19 increases when the disease is identified as early as possible hence the need for prompt health seeking behaviour,” Dr. Phuka said.

He encourages the public to promptly inform the health authorities by calling toll-free number 54747 (Airtel) or 929 (TNM) whenever one is experiencing COVID-19 like symptoms such as fever, cough, flu,shortness of breath, loss of taste or smell and tiredness.

“This will help us to identify the disease in early stages so that appropriate care can be given immediately.

“We have observed that there is sometimes congestion with our toll free numbers 54747 and 929 and the public is encouraged to utilize the dedicated emergency numbers for the district health offices rapid response teams,” he said. 

Kandondo Chiponda also asked all Councils to conduct more awareness campaign for local masses to understand the situation, saying there is need for strong enforcement of these measures at all levels.

The above mentioned measures are to be implemented alongside the rules and regulations contained in the Public Health Act (Cap. 34:01) – Public Health (Corona Virus Prevention, Containment and Management Rules, 2020.