Mutharika closes schools, bans public gatherings


President Peter Mutharika has declared Malawi a State of Disaster, ordered the closure of all schools and banned public gatherings due to the threat of coronavirus.

Mutharika announced this in a statement delivered Friday evening saying there is an urgent need to seriously manage the threat of the coronavirus in the country.

The Malawi leader in his statement advised the general public to avoid non-essential travel to the affected countries and directed that all schools, colleges (including technical colleges), both public and private universities should be closed by Monday, 23rd March, 2020;

“My Government is restricting public gatherings to less than 100 people forthwith. This restriction applies to all gatherings including weddings, funerals, church, congregations, rallies, government meetings etc,” said Mutharika

He added that the national security apparatus has been ordered into action to enforce these restrictions.

According to Mutharika, government will continue to monitor and review the situation and the restrictions from time to time within the next 30 days and will provide updates on the disease and the restrictions imposed.

He noted that the interventions being implemented have a negative bearing on people’s right to enjoy some of their human rights enshrined in the Constitution such as the right to assemble, the right to movement, and the right to participate in economic activities.

He, however, expressed hope that in pursuance of the greater national good, government will be able to reasonably limit such rights within what is attainable in the Constitutional framework.

Mutharika then called on all Malawians of different denominations and faiths to turn to God in this time as they do in times of joy and celebration.

He said: “Let’s join together as we pray for God’s heart of love, mercy, and truth to dwell in us and show us how to face the challenges posed by coronavirus.”

“We should not panic.  Let us all unite in Prayer of faith to a God that answers prayer. With spiritual grace and scientific resilience, together, we shall overcome this epidemic.”

Malawi has not recorded a case of the Covid-19 but over 250,000 cases have been recorded globally while more than 10,000 people have died.