By Duncan Mlanjira
Blantyre City Mayor Councillor Wild Ndipo has urged all public service providers to put in place deliberate measures to prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19 that includes making a provision of hand washing utensils for use by their customers.
In a statement, Ndipo said so far Blantyre City Council has placed water buckets mixed with chlorine in all strategic points in all the 34 markets within the City with the belief that all markets users will make good use of the facilities.
“We would like to urge all of us to do our part by joining the Council fight this pandemic,” the Mayor said. “Let us make a resolve to do the right thing during this time when we are under the threat of contracting this life threatening virus.
“In so doing, we will together overcome this problem.”
Ndipo added that Blantyre City Council has declared a month long ‘Make Your Environment Coronavirus Free Campaign’ to ensure that every resident is taking lead in abiding by the measures that have been put in place to prevent the spread of the virus.
Owners of butcheries, food stalls, hawkers in the markets have also been asked to support the initiatives by making a provision of hand washing utensils for use by their customers as well as owners of every building such as worshiping houses, shops, offices amongst others.
“Similarly, such hand washing facilities should be provided by organizers for all public gatherings such as funerals, weddings among others.
“All public transport operators and users should cooperate with law enforcement agents in observing the sitting capacities so that social space is adhered to at all times,” Ndipo said.
Furthermore, the Mayor appeals to street vendors to relocate to the designated markets where the Council and other stakeholders have intensified measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
“Let us avoid large gatherings as much as possible and recommended social distance must be observed at all times.
“The Council is appealing to all individual and corporate partners within and outside the City to come forward with any support that will make these measures a success.
“The Council will intensify inspection of all business premises, offices, shops, all residential areas and other public premises to make sure that all these initiatives are being followed.”
For those that will not comply, the Mayor warned that the Council shall use all available pieces of legislation to make sure that the set hygiene standards are complied with and residents are protected.
He asked all residents to utilise the toll free line (526) for any inquiries if there will be need for other measures to be implemented or those that need further information.
“This is the time for all residents of Blantyre City to join hands and protect the health of everyone,” stressed the Mayor. “Zero Coronavirus cases can be possible if we unite in the implementation of preventive measures.”
The measures have been made following the March 20 declaration of State of Disaster by President Peter Mutharika that put in place deliberate measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The measures that were put in place included:
*Ministry of Health and Population redeploying health personnel in all border posts and continue screening and surveillance of people in all entry points;
*Suspension of hosting of international meetings and banned public servants from attending both regional and international meetings being hosted by affected countries. The ban has been extended to all people travelling on other government related activities such as sports;
*The general public to avoid non-essential travel to the affected countries;
*All schools, colleges (including technical colleges), both public and private universities should be closed;
*Restricting public gatherings to less than 100 people that applies to weddings, funerals, church, congregations,rallies, government meetings etc;
*Travel ban of foreign nationals from countries highly affected by coronavirus disease. However, SADC countries are exempted.
*Returning residents and nationals from coronavirus affected countries will be subjected to self or institutional quarantine;
*Government to continue to monitor and review the situation and the restrictions from time to time within the next 30 days;
*Temporarily suspension of visa issuance for citizens of countries highly affected by coronavirus;
The President added that the national security apparatus has being ordered into action to enforce these restrictions and that the Government will continue to provide updates on the disease and the restrictions imposed.
“My government is aware that some of the interventions being implemented have a negative bearing on people’s right to enjoy some of their human rights enshrined in our Constitution such as the right to assemble, the right to movement, and the right to participate in economic activities.
“My Government is hoping that in pursuance of the greater national good, we will be able to reasonably limit such rights within what is attainable in our Constitutional framework,” Mutharika said.