Malawi’s new president, Lazarus Chakwera, has called off independence celebrations and further scaled back plans for Monday’s formal inauguration.
Both events were due to be marked by a huge jamboree in Lilongwe’s football stadium.
On Saturday, the president announced the stadium’s capacity would be halved to 20,000 to limit the spread of coronavirus.
Now the stadium festivities have been cancelled altogether, with the inauguration being moved to a military barracks to be witnessed by only 100 specially-invited guests.
The cancellation will put a dampener on the euphoria generated by the historic opposition triumph in a recent election re-run after last year’s fraudulent polls were overturned.
Meanwhile, Malawi does not require nationwide lockdown to get its coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak under control, despite the fact that there is a surge in national daily infection rate but it will be business unusual with strict new curbs on life to tackle the spread of the virus, President Lazarus Chakwera has said.
Malawi virus pandemic cases have doubled in the past two weeks to nearly 1,600 with 17 deaths.
President Chakwera has noted that coronavirus is “spreading everywhere in Malawi, and it is spreading with the power to kill.”
However, the new Malawi leader noted on Sunday during his national address from his private residence in Area 6, Lilongwe, that the country cannot afford to go into lockdown because the people – most of whom live on a $1 a day – need to find something to eat on a
Responding to a journalist question on whether there will be a lockdown, Chakwera said: “ It should be business unusual. We have to assess what we have done so far. What I have just announced are a series of restrictions, but I must say that we can’t have a 100 percent lockdown because of our substance living.
“We can’t have a full lockdown as it has happened in some nations in the East or the West. We just have to ensure that the measures are followed to mitigate against the spread of coronavirus.”