Public Health Act
Public Health (Corona Virus and COVID-19) (Prevention, Containment and Management) Rules, 2020
Government Notice 48 of 2020
In exercise of the powers conferred by section 31 as read with section 29 of the Public Health Act and pursuant to the declaration of COVID-19 as a formidable disease on the 1st day of April, 2020, I, Khumbize Kandodo Chiponda, Minister of Health, make the following Rules—
Part I – Preliminary
These Rules may be cited as the Public Health (Corona Virus and COVID-19) (Prevention, Containment and Management) Rules, 2020.
In these Rules, unless the context otherwise requires—"Corona Virus" means the severe acute respiratory syndrome Corona Virus 2 (SARS-COV-2) which emerged from China in 2019, that causes acute respiratory syndrome;"COVID-19" means a disease that occurs when SARS-CoV-2 infection affects functionality of body organs or systems, especially the respiratory system and may manifest as a severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) and Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS);"essential services" means services listed as essential services in the Seventh Schedule hereto;"enforcement officer" includes—(a)a designated traditional authority;(b)a forestry officer;(c)a health officer;(d)an immigration officer;(e)a labour officer;(f)a member of the Defence Forces of Malawi;(g)a police officer;(h)a prison warder;(i)a local government officer;(j)a national parks and wildlife officer; and(k)a road traffic officer;"face mask" includes a surgical face mask, cloth face mask; face shield or any material that covers both the mouth and nose;"gathering" means an assembly of more than ten persons whether wholly or partially in open air or in a building;"head of an institution" means the controlling officer of a public institution or the chief executive officer or the equivalent position in a private institution;"health officer" means a person with technical qualifications in any health-related discipline and with valid registration with a professional health body or written approval to carry out health-related functions;"isolation" means separating a person who is infected with the Corona Virus from other persons who are not infected in such a manner as to prevent the spread of infection or contamination by the Corona Virus;"restricted area" means a geographical or administrative area declared as such by the Minister pursuant to rule 19;"quarantine" means the separation of an asymptomatic person potentially exposed to the Corona Virus from non-exposed persons in such a manner as to prevent the possible spread of infection or contamination by the Corona Virus; and"village health committee" means any community-based health committee approved by the Ministry of Health and regularly supervised by trained community health workers, including a community health action group.
Part II – General preventive measures
Division I — Prevention of spread of Corona Virus by persons
3. Preventive measures
(1)A person shall do the following acts in order to prevent the spread of the Corona Virus—(a)when in a public area, wear a face mask at all times;(b)keep a social distance of at least one metre, from other persons;(c)wash hands frequently with soap and water, for at least forty seconds or use an alcohol based hand sanitizer with a minimum alcohol content of seventy percent, for at least twenty seconds;(d)if hands are dirty or soiled, not use an alcohol based hand sanitizer, rather, wash hands with soap and water;(e)when coughing or sneezing, cover nose and mouth with handkerchief or tissue paper or sneeze into a flexed elbow;(f)refrain from touching face, mouth, nose and eyes; and(g)avoid handshakes.(2)In addition to the measures prescribed in subrule (1), the general preventive measures and guidelines on management of wastes generated from COVID-19 prevention and control in communities prescribed in the First Schedule hereto shall apply.
4. Person with COVID-19 symptoms
(1)A person who has symptoms associated with COVID-19 shall—(a)self-isolate; and(b)as soon as possible, get tested for COVID-19 at a designated health facility or testing centre or call toll free line on 54747 or any other line designated by the Ministry.(2)For purposes of subrule (1), COVID-19 symptoms include—(a)fever;(b)dry cough;(c)tiredness;(d)body ache and pain;(e)shortness of breath, difficulty in breathing or any other breathing problem;(f)sore throat;(g)loss of taste or smell;(h)headache;(i)chest pain or pressure;(j)loss of speech or movement; and(k)loss of consciousness.
5. Person diagnosed with COVID-19
A person who is diagnosed with COVID-19, shall—(a)follow instructions given to him by a health worker;(b)where ordered to self-isolate,—(i)remain in isolation for a period of not less than ten days; and(ii)after the lapse of the isolation period, be reviewed by a health worker;(c)where admitted to hospital, remain in hospital until discharged; and(d)not go to a public place, unless certified to be COVID-19 negative.
6. Reporting of COVID-19 cases
(1)The following persons shall report to an enforcement officer, community health worker, a member of a village health committee or any appropriate authority, whichever is applicable, any suspected case or death of COVID-19—(a)employer;(b)head of family or, in his absence, a family member;(c)head of an institution;(d)guardian;(e)traditional leader; or(f)religious leader.(2)A person in-charge of a health facility shall prepare and submit to the Minister, daily and weekly statistics of suspected and confirmed cases and deaths at his facility and catchment area.
7. Handling of dead bodies
(1)Where a person with COVID-19 symptoms, or who tested positive for COVID-19, dies at home, a person listed under rule 6(1) shall report the death to a community health worker or a member of a village health committee in that area.(2)The community health worker or village health committee shall handle the dead body in accordance with the guidelines prescribed in the Second Schedule hereto and specifically—(a)facilitate the burial of the body within the shortest time possible, and in any case, not later than twenty-four hours;(b)ensure that not more than ten persons attend the burial; and(c)ensure that the dead body is handled and buried by a designated burial team in the community which shall at the time of handling the body, wear personal protective equipment.(3)A community health worker or a village health committee shall ensure that—(a)the household where the death occurred is disinfected;(b)all persons in the household are tested;(c)where a member of the household tests positive for COVID-19, that member is self-isolated at home or quarantined at the relevant quarantine facility;(d)where any member tests negative, that member self-isolates for a period of at least ten days and upon completion of the period, goes for another test; and(e)all persons that were in contact with the deceased in the last fourteen days go for a test and self-isolate as provided under subrule (3)(d).
Division II - Measures by the Government to prevent, contain and manage the spread of COVID-19
8. Compulsory testing, detention, etc
(1)An enforcement officer may, in relation to a person suspected of being infected with, or who may have recently been exposed to the risk of infection by COVID-19, order any one or a combination of the following—(a)mandatory treatment or prophylaxis of the individual;(b)sequestration or disinfection or both of the baggage and personal effects of the individual;(c)disinfection or evacuation for a period not exceeding forty-eight hours of the home of the individual or any building or premises wherein he lodges, works, operates a business, ordinarily spends his time or congregates with others for any purpose; and(d)on-site detention, isolation or quarantine of the individual or his removal to a place of isolation or quarantine, and his detention at such site, hospital or place of isolation, pending examination, treatment, prophylaxis or disinfection under paragraph (a) or (b), for a period not exceeding forty-eight hours after such order, or until certification of the individual as COVID-19 negative, whichever occurs later.(2)An enforcement officer may order any individual who has been confirmed, as having COVID-19, to be isolated for a period of not less than ten days within his home or in a place of isolation or quarantine and, during the period of isolation or quarantine to—(a)submit to further medical examination; and(b)undergo mandatory treatment or prophylaxis.(3)Orders made pursuant to subrules (1) or (2)—(a)may be communicated to the patient verbally, and be confirmed in writing or electronically, as soon as practicable;(b)that provide for the detention, isolation or quarantine of any individual, shall make reasonable provision for the individual to—(i)have access to, or be provided with, basic necessities to enable him to maintain an acceptable standard of nutrition and hygiene; and(ii)be released temporarily from such detention, isolation or quarantine, on written permission of the officer in charge of a health facility in the area or the place of detention, isolation, admission or quarantine to access medical treatment not available in the quarantine or isolation centre or attend a funeral of a spouse, blood-child or parent: Provided that the person so released shall commit to comply with conditions stated in the permit and strictly observe all infection prevention and control practices prescribed under rule 3(1);(c)shall be enforced by enforcement officers; and(d)shall be recorded and authenticated by the enforcement officer who issues them, and such records shall be kept for a period of at least seven years.(4)A person who—(a)disobeys an order made pursuant to subrule (1) or (2);(b)having been ordered to be detained, isolated or quarantined in any place;(c)removes himself from such detention, isolation or quarantine without the approval of the enforcement officer who made the order; or(d)contravenes any condition specified for his temporary release from such detention, isolation or quarantine, commits an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine of one hundred thousand Kwacha and imprisonment for three months.(5)A person who escapes or attempts to escape from any place of detention, isolation or quarantine may be arrested without a warrant.(6)An enforcement officer may announce names of people who escape from detention, isolation or quarantine centres through the local governance structures at community level, or the print or electronic media.
9. Places of quarantine and isolation
The Minister may designate any place as an isolation or quarantine facility for the temporary confinement and management of persons who are suspected of being infected with, or who may have recently been exposed to the Corona Virus, or who have been confirmed as having COVID-19.
10. Certification of enforcement officers
(1)An administrative head of a local government authority may enforcement designate any appropriate public officer in his area of jurisdiction as an as enforcement officer.(2)The administrative head of a local government authority shall furnish each person designated as an enforcement officer, with a certificate signed by, or on behalf of, the administrative head, indicating the designation.(3)An enforcement officer shall, on demand by any person affected by the exercise of the powers conferred upon the enforcement officer under these Rules, exhibit the certificate issued to him under subrule (2).
11. Regulation of public gatherings
(1)Public gatherings are hereby prohibited, subject to the exceptions provided in this Rule.(2)An enforcement officer may order a public gathering to disperse and may use reasonable force to cause the public gathering to disperse.(3)Subrule (1) shall not apply to—(а)a funeral;(b)a meeting of the National Assembly; and(c)a meeting convened to discuss COVID-19 interventions.(4)A funeral of a person who has died of any other cause, other than a COVID-19 related cause, shall be attended by not more than fifty people.(5)A meeting convened in accordance with subrule (3) shall comply with prevention measures prescribed under rule (3)(1).(6)A person who contravenes this Rule, commits an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine of one hundred thousand Kwacha and to imprisonment for three months.
12. Regulation of education institutions
All education institutions shall be closed until the Minister, in consultation with the Minister responsible for education, orders the re-opening of the institutions.(2)Where the Minister orders the re-opening of an education institution in accordance with subrule (1), that education institution shall ensure that the measures prescribed in the Third Schedule hereto are observed.
13. Regulation of workplaces
An employer and an employee shall, at the workplace, comply with the measures listed in the Fourth Schedule hereto.
14. Regulation of entry into Malawi
(1)In furtherance of section 38, a person who-(a)is not a citizen of Malawi;(b)does not hold a residence permit for Malawi;(c)is not domiciled or ordinarily resident in Malawi;(d)is not part of a team of medical personnel that is required to provide medical services in Malawi;(e)is not a member ofthe diplomatic or consular staff of a country that is accredited to Malawi or in transit to another country; or(f)is not a spouse, child or dependent of a person referred to in paragraphs (a) to (e),shall be refused entry into Malawi, except as otherwise provided for under subrule (2).(2)A person who-(a)is a member of an organization intending to support, supporting or implementing any COVID-19 related intervention;(b)is a driver of a vehicle, cabin crew of an aircraft or vessel transporting essential goods;(c)performs any service relating to the operation of the vehicle, aircraft or vessel referred to in paragraph (b);(d)performs an essential service relating to the transport services referred to in paragraph (b); or(e)complies with or meets such requirements as may be determined by the Minister responsible for immigration in accordance with the Immigration Act,in the course of duty, may be allowed to enter Malawi during the period when entry is prohibited or otherwise restricted and provisions of rule 15 shall apply.(3)All persons entering Malawi shall—(a)produce certification from the country of origin of the trip that they are COVID-19 negative;(b)comply with preventive measures under rule 3(1); and(c)be tested for COVID-19 on arrival.(4)All persons who are diagnosed with COVID-19 shall be isolated.(5)A person who is not a citizen of Malawi or a returning resident shall pay for testing and isolation costs under subrule 3(c) and (4), respectively
15. Restrictions relating to transportation services
(1)The measures in the Fifth Schedule hereto shall apply to relating to public transport facilities, including air, road, rail and water transport, transportation services(2)Any transport operator who contravenes the measures under this Rule commits an offence and shall be liable to a fine of one hundred thousand Kwacha and imprisonment for three months.(3)In addition to the penalty provided in subrule (2), the transport operator may be ordered to discontinue operation of such transportation services and, where applicable, repatriate passengers who fail to comply with provisions of rule 14 or the Fifth Schedule hereto to their initial point of embarkation.
16. Restrictions on hospitality and recreation and other public events
The measures in the Sixth Schedule hereto, shall apply to the following—(a)recreation and other entertainment facilities;(b)restaurants and food outlets;(c)sporting facilities; and(d)construction or other public works.
17. Restricted areas
(1)The Minister may, by notice published in Gazette, declare any geographical area as a restricted area.(2)The Minister shall, in the declaration—(a)specify the commencement date and prescribe the duration of the declaretion;(b)specify the area to which the declaration applies;(c)specify the persons to whom the declaration does not apply;(d)seek the deployment of the officers of the Defence Force of Malawi and Malawi Police Services to enforce the declaration;(e)allow the operation and provision of essential services;(f)prescribe the manner in which any person in the area may access essential services and acquire basic necessities of life;(g)provide for issuance of permits for people to leave or enter the area; and(h)specify any other matters he considers relevant.(3)A person, except a person exempt under subrule (2)(c), shall-(a)be confined to his place of residence, except for any of the following reasons—(i)performing an essential service;(ii)obtaining essential goods or services;(iii)seeking medical attention;(iv)visit to a pharmacy, food supply store or market;(v)physical exercises;(vi)attending the funeral of a spouse, blood child or parent;(vii)receiving essential medical treatment; or(viii)assisting a close family member, or dependant who is ill or otherwise suffers from a distressing situation:Provided that in the case of physical exercises, the physical exercises shall be done-(aa)within the restricted area and within a radius of not more than one kilometre from his residence; and(bb)in the company of people who are members of his household; and(b)not enter into or leave a restricted area without a permit.(4)A permit issued pursuant to subrule (3)(b) shall be valid for a period not exceeding twenty-four hours, unless the person is admitted to a health facility for purposes of receiving urgent life-saving treatment.(5)All shops, businesses, open or mobile markets and informal trading activities in the area, except those classified as selling essential goods and providing essential services, shall be closed.(6)All entertainment places, including bottle stores, shebeens, bars, pubs and nightclubs, including those within hospitality facilities, cinemas, casinos and video show rooms shall be closed.(7)All restaurants, fast food outlets, cafes and tea rooms shall be closed to the public, except to provide take away and delivery services.(8)The Minister may extend the duration of the declaration for periods not exceeding one month, at a time, and notice of such extensions shall be published in the Gazette.
18. Prohibition relating to travel and permit requirement
Where a person is required to travel to a restricted area or depart from a restricted area, that person shall obtain a permit from a designated enforcement officer nearest to that person or at the point of entry into, or exit from, a restricted area, authorizing travel.
19. Essential services
(1)The services listed in the Seventh Schedule hereto shall be essential services.(2)A head of an institution involved in the provision of an essential service or a person delegated by the head of the institution shall determine—(a)the essential service to be performed; and(b)the members of staff who shall perform the essential service for the period of the restriction.(3)After making a determination in terms of subrule (2), the head of a public institution shall issue a permit to every person who is to perform an essential service.(4)The administrative head of a local government authority or any enforcement officer designated in that behalf, shall, on application by a head of a private sector institution, issue permits to persons working in the private sector who are required to perform an essential service.(5)The permit referred to in subrules (3) and (4) shall—(a)specify the name and surname of the staff member;(b)the identification number of the staff member;(c)the essential service to be performed;(d)the name, physical address and telephone contact details of the head of the institution involved in the provision of the essential service; and(e)be signed by the issuing officer.(5)A person performing an essential service shall, on request, show the permit issued to him under subrule (3) to an enforcement officer or any person in relation to whom he may seek to perform a function.(6)A person performing an essential service may be screened for COVID-19, at any time.
Part III – Miscellaneous
20. Offences and penalties
(1)Any person who—(a)not being an enforcement officer, by words, or conduct, falsely represents himself to be an enforcement officer;(b)hinders, obstructs or improperly attempts to influence an enforcement officer when exercising or performing a power or function conferred or imposed by or under these Rules or another law;(c)furnishes or gives false or misleading information to an enforcement officer or any other person; or(d)does anything calculated to improperly influence an enforcement officer concerning a matter connected with the functions of the enforcement officer,commits an offence, and shall on conviction, be liable to a fine of one hundred thousand Kwacha and imprisonment for three months.(2)Where—(a)a building, premises, vehicle or other place is opened, operated or used; or(b)any activity, event, meeting or gathering is held, contrary to the provisions of these Rules, the owner, occupier or person in charge of the place, event, meeting or gathering, as the case may be, or any person who attends such event, meeting or gathering commits an offence and shall on conviction be liable to a fine of one hundred thousand Kwacha and to imprisonment for three months.(3)A who does not wear a face mask in a public area, commits an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine often thousand Kwacha.(4)Upon conviction of any person of an offence under these Rules, the court may, notwithstanding the provisions of any other written law and in addition to any other penalty imposed, order the revocation of a licence or permit belonging to the convicted person used in the commission of the offence.
21. Immunity against liability
Liability or suit shall not lie against an enforcement officer or medical practitioner for anything done in good faith under these Rules.
22. Revocation G.N. 5/2020
The Public Health (Corona Virus Prevention, Containment and Management) Rules, 2020 are hereby revoked.