By Patricia Kapulula
Lilongwe, Mana: President Dr Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera has declared a State of National Disaster effective immediately in view of the escalating Covid-19 cases.
The President made the declaration at Kamuzu Palace in Lilongwe on Tuesday as stipulated on Section 32(1) of the Disaster Preparedness and Relief Act of 1991.
The pandemic has on Tuesday claimed lives of two high ranking officials of the cabinet, namely, Lingson Belekanyama and Sidik Mia of Local Government and Transport respectively.
In view of the loss, and to honour the lives of the departed ministers, the President has directed that there should be a three-day period of national mourning from today (Tuesday during which all national flags will fly at half mast.
He has, therefore, appealed to the international community and other stakeholders to support the cause saying his administration is considering State of Emergency.
“I appeal to partners, United Nations agencies, non governmental organisations, private sector and all stakeholders to join hands in the fight by directing all essential services to fight the pandemic through the Office of the President and Cabinet,” he said.
Chakwera who described the current situation as the “darkest hour” has directed Ministries of Health, Homeland Security, Education, Civic Education and National Unity, Local Government, Justice and Information to coordinate and work together with the Vice President to review public health guidelines where necessary and enforcement of the same.
He has since appealed to all Malawians to join hands in the fight saying “each one of us is not safe” as 20 percent of those who have died have died in the 11 days into this year.
“As a nation, we have what it takes to defeat this pandemic. We need to rise together as one army to fight this enemy. We can do it, we must do it,” said the President.
The President has since called for an emergency meeting of the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19 to explore additional measures which have to be effected immediately.
As of January 11, 2021, the country had recorded 9, 027 confirmed cases with 235 deaths.