Government has gazetted the new COVID-19 pandemic guidelines into law allowing authorities to enforce the Coronavirus precautionary measures.
Addressing journalists in Lilongwe, Minister of Health Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda said effective Monday this week, any person found in public without a mask will be fined and that no person must be found wandering around socially between 9pm and 5am, among other guidelines.
The health minister said not wearing a face mask in public area will attract a maximum fine of K10, 000 and that disobeying an order of an enforcement officer is punishable by a fine of K100, 000 and 3 months imprisonment.
“It is for these reasons that indeed we have gazetted new laws and as I am talking now it is already law so it means whoever contravenes whoever doesn’t abide by this law they will be answerable to the powers of those who are supposed to enforce these laws,” said Chiponda.
She however stressed that 50 person restriction on gatherings is not applicable to parliamentary proceedings, education institutions and COVID-19 meetings.
“This gathering does not include the National Assembly, meetings which are called to discuss COVID-19 interventions, education institutions are all expected from the number 50,” said Chiponda.
Meanwhile, the co-chairperson of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 Dr John Phuka said in the past 24 hours the country has registered 557 positive COVID-19 cases which has resulted into a total of 6415 active cases.
“In the past 24 hours se have recorded 557 news cases all these are local resulting in 11176 total local cases and in total local cases are now at 13027, the total of active cases is now at 6415 and we have since lost 7 Malawians to death,” said Dr Phuka.
In an addition to the mandatory penalties, the rules provide for the revocation of the licenses of transport operators, operators of public service facilities.
And any person who escapes or attempts to escape from any place of detention, isolation or quarantine may be arrested without a warrant of arrest.