News Alerts

08 Aug 2020 | 05:12 PM UTC

Malawi: Face masks mandatory in public areas as of August 7 /update 7

Malawi News Alert

Ministry of Health announce face masks are mandatory in public places as of August 7 due to COVID-19 pandemic; follow authority directives

TIMEFRAME expected from 8/8/2020, 12:00 AM until 8/31/2020, 11:59 PM (Africa/Blantyre). COUNTRY/REGION Malawi

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Event

Malawi's Ministry of Health announced on Friday, August 7, that face masks will now be mandatory in public places as part of measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Failure to wear a mask could result in a fine of 10,000 Malawian Kwacha (USD 13). 

Entry to Malawi is prohibited except for Malawian nationals and foreign nationals with valid residency visas for Malawi. If eligible to enter the country, passengers will be tested for COVID-19 on arrival, and will have to remain at the airport or a testing center until the test results are known. 

Schools have been closed since March 23 and gatherings of more than 100 people are banned. Most shops, banks, and restaurants are in operation, and public transport continues to operate throughout Malawi with some restrictions and coronavirus precautionary measures in place.

As of Saturday, August 8, there have been 4585 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Malawi, and 137 associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.

Context

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). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.

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

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.

Advice

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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