Government has rebuked the attacks on health workers on false accusations regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, calling such acts criminal and regressive perpetuated by fake news and false conspiracy theories.
Speaking during the COVID-19 Daily Briefs on Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) on Wednesday, Minister of Civic Education and National Unity, Timothy Mtambo urged Malawians to follow the COVID-19 messages from government and health officials to avoid being moved by fake news.
“The tendency of attacking health workers is evil and criminal and this should stop. These people are there to help us. We need to listen to, and trust the messages that government is sending through various platforms and ignore the fake news,” Mtambo said.
Mtambo also urged Malawians to ignore the conspiracy theories that are spreading regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, saying they are false and without merit.
“The theories that the vaccines will, for example, make people infertile are false and you should not listen to them. Government has experts who are analysing every angle of the vaccine, suffice to say that we are also continuously learning from other countries, including South Africa” said the Minister.
Mtambo reiterated that government will not force anyone to take the vaccine, as such claims that government has ill-intentions are wrong.
On COVI-19 civic education and public awareness interventions, Mtambo said government through his Ministry has deployed 34 vehicles to all the 28 districts in Malawi to raise awareness on the preventative measures as well as the upcoming vaccines. The exercise, Mtambo said, commenced on 5 February and will run for 21 days.
“Our Ministry has mobilized district health workers and information officers, who are working with officials from the National Initiative for Civic Education (NICE) to conduct loud hailing campaigns, even in the hard to reach areas,” Mtambo said.
Mtambo's sentiments on COVID-19 vaccine echoed those made by Health Minister Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda earlier this week when she called on Malawians not to panicas the country, through its health experts, has made a thorough analysis of the vaccine.
“We have a special committee which evaluates vaccines in the country and that committee has recommended the AstraZeneca vaccine for the country,” Said Chiponda.
In his remarks at the same platform, co-chairperson of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19, Dr. John Phuka called upon traditional leaders to help government in promoting behaviour change amongst the citizen, in order to adopt new ways of life that will help prevent the spread of the pandemic and allow the health workers to work freely.
“Chiefs and other traditional leaders need to help government in ensuring that people are following preventative measures in such events as funeral ceremonies. We need to change some of the behaviours that are helping in the spread of the pandemic,” said Phuka.
Phuka also gave the daily updates on Covid-19 update that of 10th February the country registered 328 new cases making a total confirmed cases to 28,050. The newly admitted were 31 while the new discharges from various health units is totalling to 24.