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Malawi Court Block Coronavirus Lockdown Plan

Parishioners wash hands as a preventive measure against the spread of the coronavirus in Lilongwe, Malawi
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Malawi had earlier announced a 21-day coronavirus lockdown in a bid to slow down the spread of the virus. However, a High Court judge has blocked the plan because of the devastating impact it would have on workers who would lose their incomes.

Workers say they cannot afford to stay at home in spite of the health risks from the coronavirus.

In addition, people in the country took to the streets to protest against the 21-day lockdown. They say the government has not considered poor people who live hand to mouth with no savings.

Traders in the city have expressed concern over the lockdown. They say that it will be difficult to provide for their families during the lockdown.

On their placards, the protesters argued that the Northern Region should not be locked down because no case has been registered in the region.

In Mangochi, a group of vendors in Mangochi also marched on Thursday to show disapproval over the lockdown. The vendors petitioned the Mangochi district council saying they cannot survive the 21-day lockdown.

Related: Malawi Announces Coronavirus Lockdown

They argued that the lockdown would be acceptable if government had plans to provide food or money to citizens.

In Blantyre, traders have since notified the Blantyre City Council of their plans to hold protests over the lockdown. According to the businesspersons, they want the lockdown cancelled.

“We believe that locking us down will lead to hunger. Therefore, we are requesting our, President Peter Mutharika, to reverse the decision to re-plan it by considering the majority of Malawians who are poor,” the group said.

The Mutharika administration announced on Tuesday that it will lock down the country from 18 April to 9 May to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Malawi has recorded a total of 17 cases and 2 deaths of the coronavirus.