CDEDI to drag govt to court for ‘shamelessly’ ignoring lockdown injunction

Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) says it will take legal action against government for ignoring the lockdown injunction.

The Public Health (Corona Virus and Covid-19) Prevention, Containment and Management Rules, 2020, were gazetted on Friday and came into effect on Saturday.

Similar rules which included a 21-day lockdown were also gazetted in April by the Peter Mutharika administration but they were blocked by a court order and the Judiciary is yet to set date for the ruling on the injunction.

In a statement on Sunday, CDEDI said the updated rules have disregarded the court order which required government to first implement clear strategies on provision of safety nets to cushion the negative effects of a lockdown.

“The Centre for Democracy and Economic Development Initiatives (CDEDI) continues to maintain its position that Government should clearly spell out cushion measures for people that have seriously been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. CDEDI has noted with disappointment that government has now come up with sugar-coated lockdown measures without spelling out clearly how the affected people will be cushioned (safety nets).

“It is very clear that the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 measures will suffocate many businesses leading to more job losses,” the organisation.

CDEDI also noted that President Lazarus Chakwera rejected a Coronavirus lockdown while he was in opposition but now his government has implemented a partial lockdown.

As part of the gazette rules, funerals are restricted to 50 attendees while general public gatherings should have less than 10 people except a meeting of the National Assembly; and meetings convened to discuss COVID-19 interventions.

Places of entertainment such as bars and pubs will only operate between 2PM and 8PM but even during this time people will only be allowed to buy and not consume at the same place.

Masks are also mandatory in public places and the Minister of Health is empowered by the regulations to lock down an area where there is a rise in Covid-19 cases.

Malawi has recorded 4658 Coronavirus cases, including 146 deaths and 2375 recoveries.

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