Two Malawi ministers die of Covid-19

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Malawi's transport minister and another senior cabinet member died from Covid-19 on Tuesday, the government said.

Sidik Mia, 56, tested positive late last week and was isolating at home with mild symptoms.

The minister, who was also vice president of the ruling Malawi Congress Party, passed away on Tuesday morning.

Local government minister Lingson Belekanyama also succumbed to the disease after a two-week illness.

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"President Lazarus Chakwera is deeply saddened by the demise of two senior cabinet ministers today," a statement said.

Malawi is facing a resurgence in coronavirus infections, with around 30% of confirmed cases registered in the past two weeks alone.

To date the southern African country has recorded just over 9 000 cases and 235 deaths.

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Chakwera has blamed the spike on decreased vigilance during the festive season.

"We are paying the price because many of us are back to the old ways of not wearing masks," the president said in an address to the nation on Sunday.

"When I say many of us, I am including myself and all of us who are working in government," he added.

"It (coronavirus) has now infected all sectors of society, including members of parliament, members of cabinet, members of the media, and members of the clergy."

READ | The scramble to provide Covid-19 vaccine

Malawi's government was barred from implementing a lockdown last year after a high court ruled the restrictions would unfairly impact the poorest and most vulnerable members of society.

There are currently no limits on movement or gatherings. Face masks are encouraged but not mandatory.

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