MALAWI.Lilongwe: The government of Malawi and a Kenyan Airliner have responded to, with caution, reports that India is among the countries being hit by the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Malawi government recently banned travels to and from the Asian country, with Kenya Airways also suspending flights to Mumbai and from the country as well.
At the end of April Malawi, through Health Minister Khumbidze Chiponda, said that only essential travels from India will be permitted and cleared to land.
Apart from India, the ban had also been extended to Bangladesh, Pakistan and Brazil.
“But those carrying essential goods and services to and from these countries will be put under a mandatory quarantine and will be given designated hotel accommodation,” said Chiponda.
As for the Kenyan airliner, the ban on passenger flights to Mumbai was a result of a government directive on restricting travels to India and other countries in the sub continent.
The office of Corporate Communications for the Airliner said, “customers affected by the cancellation can exchange their bookings for a voucher that can be used for future travels”.
The Kenyan Minister for Health, Mutahi Kagwe, had on Wednesday last week announce a suspension of flights to and from India for 14 days.
Kagwe had said that given the dire events in India, the Kenyan government had resolved to suspend all passenger flights from any airliner in and out of the country for a period of 14 days. The suspension, he said, was to take effect from midnight Saturday last week.”
Cargo planes to India, however, would remain in service.
India and Malawi are good trading partners.
Most of the shops and manufacturing companies in Malawi are owned by Indian nationals, raising fears that the effects of the pandemic in Mumbai will be felt heavily by the southern African country.
Most of Malawi’s foreign medical referrals are also sent to Indian hospitals, and India, on the other hand, is a major importer of legumes from the southern African country.
Recently, some Indian nationals working for a sugar manufacturing company in the lake shore district of Salima tested positive of COVID-19. They had been put on quarantine.
Since the beginning of April, Malawi has seen her COVID-19 cases hover around 15 to 20 a day. This had forced the government to relax some preventive measures.
Outdoor gatherings were allocated 250 from 100 members earlier by government authorities. Indoor gatherings can now have 100 patrons from 50.
Case fatality rates had dropped to 3 percent as at the beginning of May.