THE Lilongwe High Court in Malawi has granted Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HDRC) an order blocking the government from effecting a 21-day lockdown meant to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the south-eastern African country.
The coalition said in a brief statement via its Twitter account on Friday that a seven-day injunction had been granted.
‘While we commend the court for intervening in the matter, we appeal to Malawians to continue observing recommended precaution measures which also includes washing hands frequently,’ the statement read.
Several Malawian media outlets ran a liner confirming the court order, citing HDRC chairperson Gift Trapence.
The HRDC approached the court saying it was worried by the haphazard approach government had adopted in declaring the lockdown.
The rights’ group wanted the government to suspend the lockdown until it had addressed all of the concerns regarding the livelihoods of Malawians.
The country’s president, Peter Mutharika, on Tuesday declared the 21-day lockdown in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus. It was scheduled to start at midnight on Saturday and run until May 9.
But Malawians took to the streets on Friday, demanding that the lockdown not be put in place unless the government provided measures to cushion the effects thereof.
The country recorded one new Covid-19 case on Friday when a 70-year-old man tested positive for the virus, bringing the number of confirmed cases to 17, with two deaths thus far recorded.
The coronavirus was first recorded in Wuhan, the capital of central China’s Hubei province, in December 2019.
It has since rapidly spread around the globe, forcing many countries into lockdown.
As of Friday, there were 2, 214,461 million infections worldwide, 148,979 deaths and 560,309 recoveries, according to reference site Worldometers.