Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera has declared a state of disaster and appealed for assistance to deal with a surge in COVID-19 infections in the southeast African country that has seen over 2,000 new cases and several high-level deaths over the past week.In an address to the nation on Tuesday, Chakwera said he was declaring a state of national disaster in all of the country’s 28 districts to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
“I declare a state of national disaster in respect of all the districts in the country with effect from today, January 12, 2021,” Chakwera said.
The declaration comes in the wake of the death of four senior officials during the past few days, including two cabinet ministers.
Transport Minister Sidik Mia and Local Government Minister Lingson Berekanyama both succumbed to the disease on Tuesday.
Others senior officials are the former governor of Malawi’s central bank, Francis Perekamoyo, and the principal secretary in the Ministry of Information, Ernest Kantchentche.
Chakwera reached out to the international community and local organisations for support in the fight against COVID-19.
“I, therefore, appeal for more assistance from the international community, relevant UN agencies, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector, for uncommon contributions towards the resources needed to meet the present challenge of the pandemic,” he said.
The Malawian leader has since declared a three-day period of mourning from January 12 to 14, and he has directed that all national flags across the country should fly at half-mast in respect of the government officials and citizens that the country has lost to the pandemic.
The country has recorded more than 9,000 cases since April 2020, with over 2,000 of these having been recorded since January 1.