Government gazettes Covid-19 preventive rules

Government has finally gazetted Public Health Covid-19 prevention and management rules.

According to the Act, established on August 7, by the Minister of Health, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, in exercise of powers conferred to her by Section 31 of the Public Health Act, any person who contravenes the measures under these rules commits an offence and shall be liable to pay a fine of up to K100, 000 and serve three-month prison sentence.

According to the rules, every person is mandated to wear a face mask whenever one is in public place.

Public gatherings have been prohibited except funeral of a person who has died of any other cause, other than a COVID-19 related cause, and the ceremony shall be attended by not more than fifty people.

All public service vehicles must reduce their seating capacity to sixty percent, and operators should ensure that handwashing water and sanitizers are made available to their passengers at no cost.

Owners of restaurants and food outlet premises are mandated to operate daily between 6am and 9pm while owners of bars are allowed to open their premises from 2pm to 8pm and only for take away purchases.

In addition, all persons entering the country from outside shall be requires to produce certification from their country of origin of the trip to prove that they are COVID-19 negative, and those proved positive shall be isolated.

Non-Malawian citizens or returning residents shall pay for testing and isolation costs.

Commenting on the development, a health rights campaigner, Maziko Matemba, backed the move however, has asked government to ensure that materials such as face masks are accessible to everyone since many Malawians are poor and cannot afford them.

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