Lilongwe (Agenzia Fides) - The President of Malawi, Lazarus Chakwera, urged his compatriots to join him in fasting and prayer against the spread of coronavirus in the country. The President urged "all citizens and residents of Malawi" to fast and pray for three days, starting today, July 16. The President also declared a "National Thanksgiving Day" on Sunday 19 July.
In a statement signed by the Minister of Information, Gospel Kazakh, the President asked "to intensify prayers for the healing of those affected by the virus; for the protection and support of frontline health workers in the struggle; for the protection and zeal of those who have not contracted the virus".
President Chakwera is a former pastor of the Assemblies of God church in Malawi, which he has led for 24 years. He became leader of the then Malawi Congress Party in 2013, without having any previous political experience, and was elected in the elections of June 23, after defeating outgoing President Peter Mutharika.
President Chakwera raised strong expectations in Malawi, one of the poorest Countries in the world, plagued by corruption. His Exc. Mgr. John Alphonsus Ryan, Bishop of Mzuzu, during a ceremony for the distribution of aid to families affected by the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus, hoped that President Chakwera and Vice-President Chilima are true leaders who put themselves with a spirit of service to guide the country. "The President and Vice-President have emphasised the idea of servant leadership. That they are there to serve. Our prayer is that they will continue with that servant leadership in leading Malawi".
Mgr. Ryan then asked the new government to implement strong measures to protect everyone from the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic and stressed that parents are concerned about lives of their children who can no longer attend school because it is risky. The diocese of Mzuzu has committed itself to using its few resources to support the families most affected by the Covid-19 crisis.
Malawi has so far recorded 2,614 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with 1,005 recoveries and 43 people have died. With the discovery of the first case in a prison, human rights organizations ask the government to release some of the prisoners to alleviate the conditions of local prisons, whose hygiene and sanitation situation is inadequate. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 16/7/2020)