Malawi President Dr. Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera on Sunday ordered the cancellation of Independence Day celebrations that falls on July 6 each year as a measure to mitigate spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
The celebrations were scheduled to take place at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe but instead Chakwera’s inauguration ceremony will be conducted at Kamuzu Barracks with only invited guests in attendance.
The Malawi Leader disclosed this in his address to the Nation basing the orders on latest information his office received on the current status of the pandemic in the country.
“Fellow citizens a few hours ago I directed that Independence Day celebrations slated for tomorrow at the Bingu National Stadium be canceled.
“As you may recall yesterday. I said that attendance for the event would be reduced by half from 40,000 to 20,000.
“I had also directed the presidential task force on COVID-19 to work with a ministerial organizing committee for the Independence Day celebration to esure that tomorrow’s event be conducted under the strictest best measures to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.
“However I have received new information in the last 24 hours that has persuaded me to cancel the event all together. By the time I addressed you at the start of the day yesterday, the number of confirmed covid-19 cases was 1498. By the time the same day ended that number stood at 1613. Representing a rise of over 7% of the hundred and fifteen new confirmed cases,” said the President.
The Malawi Leader said the benefits of the cancellation far outweighs the costs incurred for the independence Day preparations.
The President has re-emphasized on the need for personal hygiene and wearing of masks and appropriate use of handsanitisers as some of the measures to be adhered to in the war against COVID-19.
He was optimistic that concerted efforts by all citizens will make a difference in the fight against the pandemic. He then said savings from Independence Day celebrations be channelled to Presidential Committe on COVID-19.
Chakwera has hinted that Government will consider tax exemptions on some products and medical supplies that are critical in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.