BLANTYRE (Reuters) – Malawi will allow airlines and schools to resume operations from Sept. 1, as it seeks to limit the economic and social damage from its coronavirus lockdown, authorities said on Thursday.
Schools and airports have been closed since March, when the government imposed a lockdown to try to contain the epidemic.
Malawi has recorded 5474 cases and 173 deaths from the virus so far, although the real figure may be higher as fewer than 50,000 tests have been conducted.
The main international airport in the administrative capital Lilongwe will now open to limited flights next week.
“The government has carefully considered adverse effects of the suspension of air travel on all sectors of the economy and has therefore decided to lift the suspension with effect from 1 September 2020,” James Chakwera, Acting Director of the Department of Civil Aviation, said in a statement.
He added that initially only a limited number of flights would operate, while all arrivals will be required to produce Covid-19 negative test results based on tests conducted within 10 days prior to arrival.
The school closures left more than 5 million pupils across all levels out of class.
“We’ll take a phased approach starting with examination classes from September 7th to the others later in October,” Education Minister Agnes Nyalonje said in a statement.