LILONGWE, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- Malawi President Lazarus Chakwera has announced new measures against the spread of COVID-19 amid rising infections and mounting deaths related to the pandemic in the country.
The measures include closure of non-boarding schools for three weeks and disinfection, at least once a week, of all buildings used by the public, and installation of handwashing facilities at their entrances and exits.
"Any person found in public without a mask will be fined," Chakwera said in an address to the nation late Sunday.
"Employers must reorganize their employees to work in shifts if the work requires physical presence, and to work from home for the next three weeks if it does not," he said.
The president also ordered that all gatherings, including religious ones, "must have no more than 50 people," and that all markets in the country must close no later than 5:00 p.m., where all merchants and customers "must wear a mask at all times."
Malawi now has reported a total of 12,470 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 6,036 recoveries and 314 deaths.
The government will facilitate recruitment of an additional 1,380 medical personnel in four different categories over the next four months, the president said.
Chakwera pledged the immediate procurement of 1,000 cylinders of oxygen and 1,000 hospital beds, including 50 to 100 for specialized intensive care.
The country will also procure more testing kits and non-invasive ventilators, he said. Enditem