Following up on his Nation Address after the tragic deaths of Cabinet Ministers, Local Government Minister Hon. Lingson Belekanyama and Minister of Transport Hon Sidik Mia, and two other senior government officials in which the President declared a state of national disaster. President Lazarus Chakwera on Sunday announced strict measures in the fight against Covid-19.

This year alone, a total of 111 people, at an average of seven per day, have succumbed to Covid-19. This means that, of all the deaths from Covid-19 in the past nine months, over a third have happened in the past 16 days, showing a sharp rise in fatalities.

Concerned with rise in cases and fatalities, he announced that schools would be closed for three weeks with immediate effect, new laws be gazetted to tighten the screws on coronavirus and that the government spend K17.5 billion on interventions in the short term.

In a related development the government has gazetted new laws that will help the government and stakeholders fight the Covid-19 pandemic, warning that any person found contravening them will face the law.

Some of the gazetted rules are that any person found not wearing a mask in a public place would be fined K10, 000 maximum while other offences are punishable by a fine of K100, 000 and imprisonment for three months.

Such offences include convening, hosting and attending a gathering of more than 50 people.

For those diagnosed with coronavirus, failure to adhere to instructions issued by health workers is also an offence.

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