Malawi Coronavirus (COVID-19) 24 April 2020 – An Update From Barnabas Coronavirus Emergency Network

From the principal of a theological college

“The President of the Republic of Malawi declared Malawi as Disaster Area on Friday, 20th March 2020. He banned public gatherings of more than 100 people and ordered closure of schools from 23rd March 2020 as part of the precautionary measures to guard against COVID 19…

“On 15th April 2020, the President announce the 21 days Lock Down beginning from 19th April 2020 to 9th May 2020. The Lock Down was challenged in the court of law when the Human Rights Defenders Coalition applied for court injunction stopping government from implementing the Lock Down, which was granted on Friday, 17th April 2020. The matter is supposed to enter interparty hearing with 7 days. We are not sure of what will happen after the hearing. The Lock Down was challenged because government was not clear on modalities of how to take care of the vulnerable groups, which covers almost 80% of Malawian population.

“The harvests and crops are looking good to those few who applied fertilizer in their gardens. It should be pointed out that majority of Malawians failed to apply fertilizer in the gardens because of inadequate financial resources. If the anticipated Lock Down takes place, the harvest will be affected. In the first place, it is the period when the people harvest their crops. If Lock Down takes place it will meant that people will not be able to go and harvest their crops. Even transporting farm produce will be difficult. It might also attract thieves who are already stealing other peoples’ farm produce.

“Due to insufficient harvest in the year 2019, majority of our people are consuming directly from their harvest. If the Lock Down takes place, it will be difficult for people to go to their gardens and get their daily food. A lot of people will die of hunger instead of being killed with COVID 19. This year’s farm produce will not be enough to sustain the population to the next harvest period…

“Malawi government has done the following:

    a) Banned all social gatherings of more than 10 people …

    b) Banned all Church gatherings.

    c) Has closed all educational institutions.

    d) It has allowed only essential services to work in shifts of not more than 10 people.

    e) Instituted a Lock Down, which as pointed out above was challenged in court…

“This has seriously affected Christians in the following ways:

    a) Christians are unable to access essential Church activities such as Holy Communion, Baptism, Pastoral Visitation and Church Fundraising activities due to government directive.

    b) Sunday School classes have been suspended and children are staying at home.

    c) The whole idea of Christian Fellowship (Koinonia) has been removed.”