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17 Apr 2020 | 05:52 PM UTC

Malawi: Police forcibly disperse protest in Limbe (Blantyre district) April 17 /update 6

Malawi News Alert

Police fire tear gas at protesters in Limbe (Blantyre district) on April 17; High Court injunction delays nationwide lockdown

TIMEFRAME expected from 4/17/2020, 12:00 AM until 4/24/2020, 11:59 PM (Africa/Blantyre). COUNTRY/REGION Malawi, Limbe, Malawi

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On Friday, April 17, police forcibly dispersed protesters in Limbe (Blantyre district) who had gathered to protest a nationwide lockdown, which was to come into effect on Saturday, April 18, in response to the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. Police used tear gas after demonstrators blocked a nearby road with burning tires. Shortly after, the High Court issued an injunction that prevents the government from implementing the proposed 21-day lockdown. The injunction is valid for seven days, during which there will be a judicial review of the government's proposition.

To date, there have been 16 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Malawi, and two associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.


The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.


Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:  

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.  
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.


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