By Duncan Mlanjira
National Bank of Malawi (NBM) has closed its Chichiri Service Centre for 14 days as a precautionary measure after several of its members of staff tested positive of COVID-19.
In a public statement, the bank says during the 14 days of closure, the Chichiri premises shall be disinfected and that all staff shall observe 14 days of self quarantine.
The staff shall undergo a second test to those that tested negative after the 14 days of self quarantine prior to the reopening of the service centre.
“The staff that have tested positive shall only return to their work stations upon full recovery from the virus and following a negative rest result certified by the Blantyre District Health Office,” says the statement.
During this period, customers are asked to seek banking services from these alternate services within reach such as Chichiri Shopping Mall, Customs Road in Limbe, Top Mandala, Victoria Avenue in Blantyre and Henderson Street.
“We would further urge you to utilize our digital banking channels— MO626 Ice, MO626 Digital + and Banknet 360 in order to bank safely.
“We regret any inconvenience this might cause and assure you that as a bank, we are working tirelessly to ensure that staff, customers and stakeholders remain safe during this period,” says the statement.
All banks in the country have issued notices that no customer shall be allowed into banking halls if they are not wearing face masks.
Meanwhile, the Directorate of Road Traffic and Safety Services (DRTSS) says that it has intensified enforcement and surveillance exercises on all routes to ensure that motorists and operators are adhering to the COVID-19 preventive measures it laid down.
The Directorate further warns that it will not hesitate to revoke licences of any operator and driver who will not adhere to the guidelines and restrictions.
The measures include restriction on carrying capacity for the public service vehicles (buses, minibuses and taxis) that they should be reduced reduced to 60% seating capacity whilst observing social distance.
All tricycle shall only carry the rider and one passenger; goods vehicles shall only carry the driver and one passenger in front seat and pedal cycle and motor cycle should maintain carrying only one passenger.
No standing passengers allowed on any public service vehicle and that and public service vehicles should have slide opening windows and those without should have a functional ventilation system.
All public service vehicles are required to disinfect before commencement of every trip and all crew and passengers must put on protective face masks that will cover the nose and mouth
All passengers must wash hands with soap or use hand sanitizers before entering a bus or minibus. The Directorate also bans touting (call boys) for passenger service vehicles.
Animals are not allowed to be carried on public service vehicles and all goods vehicles are not allowed to carry passengers.
Cross-border passenger travel still remains suspended and all passengers in private vehicles should sit next to windows with no passenger sitting in the middle.
The directorate further says all private vehicle occupants should wear face masks.
“COVID-19 is real and together we can stop the spread of Coronavirus,” says the statement. “Your safety is our number one priority — Arrive Alive.”