Malawi Congress Party (MCP) president Lazarus Chakwera says Malawi is not adequately prepared for the coronavirus as health facilities are not ready for an outbreak and people from affected countries are continuing to enter Malawi without being tested.
Chakwera made the claims in a statement broadcast on Times Television on Wednesday night.
According to Chakwera, during his visit to health facilities he noted that the government has done little to prepare health facilities to conduct tests and prevent transmission.
He added that health authorities have conducted less than 100 laboratory tests ever since President Peter Mutharika declared the country a state of disaster over the coronavirus and after the government set up three testing centres.
“Last week, government received 20,000 test kits but conveniently neglected to provide storage rooms for the tests at district level,” he said.
He added that people from affected countries continue to cross the country’s borders without being tested.
“These lapses mean that as a country we are hoping for the best, that this virus will not cross our borders, but we are ill-prepared for the worst,” said Chakwera.
The MCP leader predicted that Mutharika will order a lockdown if the virus enters the country.
Chakwera, however, warned Mutharika that he will have to justify the lockdown and will need to tell poor Malawians how the government will support citizens during the lockdown.
According to Chakwera, Mutharika will also have to guarantee Malawians that their right to elect a president will be respected and that the 2020 fresh elections will still be held within the period ordered by the Constitutional Court.
“Without these measures, a lockdown could itself become a threat to the stability of the country,” said Chakwera.
He then advised Malawians to practice social distancing, wash hands with soap, avoid touching face and to stay home when sick.
“Above all, do not be afraid. God is with us all,” he said.
Malawi is yet to record a case of the coronavirus which has affected 203 countries across the world with over 900,000 cases more than 45,000 deaths recorded.