Mutharika warns against fake news on coronavirus


… Tells opposition leaders not to politicize pandemic

President Peter Mutharika has advised Malawians to avoid creating panic and spreading fake news on the coronavirus.

In a statement on Friday, Mutharika said fake news about the disease is frustrating the fight against the coronavirus.

“Let me also speak to individuals that are using the coronavirus threat and the social media for political reasons and to express their personal hate.  Stop creating panic. Stop spreading rumors on the virus. Your actions are frustrating the fight against the Corona Virus.  Love your county. Be humane,” he said.

He also asked members of opposition political parties not to politicize the fight against coronavirus.

According to Mutharika, he has noted some unfortunate remarks from some political leaders on the fight against coronavirus and he hopes it was just a temporary error of judgment.

“The coronavirus threat demands that we all join hands and pull in one direction for us to win. Let’s not politicize it,” said Mutharika.

The Malawi leader further urged Malawians to disregard myths that black people are immune to the disease and that the warm climate of Africa is protective against the virus

He said people in the country should follow precautionary measures such as washing of hands frequently with soap and water; avoiding handshakes; maintaining social distance with people; and avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth.

The coronavirus has so far spread to over 150 countries globally, with more than 250,000 cases recorded and over 10,000 deaths.

Malawi is yet to record a case of the coronavirus but its neighbors Tanzania and Zambia have recorded cases.

In the SADC region, South Africa, where thousands of Malawians live and work, has registered 202 cases.

In his speech, Mutharika said Malawi where the impact of coronavirus can spill-over within the region and beyond.

He asked the private sector and development partners for more support towards the fight against coronavirus and its impact on the economy.

Mutharika said government has developed MK15 billion (US$20 million) and has provided MK2.5 billion as immediate funding towards the Response Plan.

“Despite my Government commitment and all donor support, there is still a gap. I, therefore, appeal for more support from the private sector and international community,” said Mutharika.