President Lazarus Chakwera has declared Malawi a state of disaster as a measure to fight the fast spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In his special address to the nation on Tuesday, Chakwera said the declaration is a first step towards a possible declaration of state of emergency subject to consultation with and approval from the Defence and Security Committee of Parliament.
President Chakwera has called for an emergency meeting of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 to explore additional measures in view of the declaration of state of national disaster.
He directed a team comprising Ministries of Health, Homeland Security, Education, Civic Education, Information, Local Government and Justice to work together with the Vice President Saulos Chilima to review the COVID-19 preventive measures and guidelines and recommend to the Taskforce any amendments and enforcement.
Chakwera also declared a three-day period of national mourning following the death of Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Lingson Belekanyama and Transport Muhammad Sidik Mia and all Malawians who succumbed to Covid-19 pandemic.
He declared that all national flags should fly at half mast during the period of mourning.
Chakwera also asked the public to ensure strict observance of all COVID-19 preventive measures that includes hand washing, masking and social distancing.