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Malawians protest against Covid-19 lockdown

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Government accused of not taking into consideration the effect of the lockdown on people who live hand to mouth

MALAWIANS are protesting against the coronavirus lockdown that is set to start on Saturday, Malawi media reported.

Daily newspaper The Nation reported on Friday that street vendors in Blantyre had taken to the streets, burning tyres and blocking the road in protest against the planned 21-day lockdown that was scheduled to start at midnight on Saturday and run until May 9.

They demanded that the lockdown not to be effected unless the government provided measures to cushion its effects.

President Peter Mutharika declared the 21-day lockdown on Tuesday in an attempt to arrest the rapid spread of the coronavirus, saying it may be extended beyond May 9 as circumstances warrant.

“Many more countries across the world have lost many lives. All our neighbouring countries have coronavirus cases and lives are being lost. If we are not careful, Malawi can lose up to 50 000 lives. We need to act more now,” he said when declaring the lockdown.

Malawi has recorded two coronavirus-related deaths and has 16 confirmed cases.

News website Malawi24 reported that Malawians were accusing the government of not taking into consideration the effect of the lockdown on people who live hand to mouth and have no savings.

Vendors expressed concern over the lockdown, saying they would not be able to provide for their families during the period.

News website Maravi Post reported that the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) has asked Mutharika to immediately suspend the lockdown, arguing that it violated the human rights of Malawians.

– African News Agency (ANA)