Covid-19 health workers on pay strike in Malawi
Rustenburg - Health-care workers at Kameza isolation centre in Blantyre, Malawi, are striking over non-payment of an allowance, local media reported on Tuesday.
According to a report in the independent newspaper The Nation, workers downed tools on Monday, demanding to be paid allowance arrears from April.
Workers' representative Kennedy Lowa told the newspaper that the Blantyre city council only paid them a day’s allowance after they staged a march on Thursday to demand their full payment.
He said they would only return to work once they received their full arrears.
The isolation centre reportedly has five Covid-19 patients who were left in the care of a matron.
Meanwhile, online publication Malawi24 reported that the south-eastern African country has recorded 76 new Covid-19 infection cases, taking the total number of known cases to 1,818 as of July 6, including 19 deaths and 317 recoveries.
A total of 703 cases were imported infections and 1,042 were locally transmitted, while 73 were still under investigation.
The country has conducted 17,406 Covid-19 tests.
Chairman of the presidential task force on Covid-19 John Phuka said 31 of the cases were from Mzuzu, 18 were from Lilongwe and 15 from Blantyre. Four were from Mzimba South and Mchinji, respectively, three were from Mwanza and one was from Karonga.
The rising number of Covid-19 infections in Malawi also forced newly elected president Lazarus Chakwera to cancel independence day celebrations and delay the reopening of schools.
The celebrations had been planned for Monday, at a ceremony at the Bingu National Stadium along with Chakwera’s inauguration.
Meanwhile, a committee responsible for the reopening of schools had proposed July 13 as the date to resume classes, but that was shifted due to the rising Covid-19 cases.
Principal secretary for the Ministry of Education Justin Saidi said the official date for reopening schools would be set by the government after a careful analysis of the status of the pandemic.
"All other communication confirming 13th July, 2020, without prior approval from government, should be disregarded forthwith.
"The general public is assured of the determination on the possible date of reopening, the soonest," Saidi said in a statement on Monday.
Former president Peter Mutharika shut down schools in March in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus. At the time Malawi had not recorded any cases of Covid-19.