Malawi’s President Lazarus Chakwera has taken personal blame for being among those responsible for the recent rise in Covid-19 cases in the country.
There’s been a “collective sense of relaxation in adherence to Covid prevention measures among many Malawians including myself,” Mr Chakwera said in a radio address on Sunday.
The president was heavily criticised last week when images and videos circulated showing him and visiting pop musician, Madonna, shaking hands and posing for pictures without wearing masks or observing social distance.
Malawi has seen a sharp rise in deaths and positive tests for Covid-19 in recent weeks with high-profile personalities, including singer and broadcaster Maria Chidjanja Nkhoma and the administrative head for the Ministry of Information Ernest Kantchentche, among those who have succumbed to the disease.
More than 200 Malawians are known to have died of Covid-19, with at least 30 of them dying within the past two weeks alone.
President Chakwera, who is also a pastor, said he would start a 21-day period of fasting and prayer to ask God to heal the country.
The Malawi president has also ordered the security forces to help enforce new Covid-19 prevention measures, including closing bars and clubs by 20:00.