United Nations Resident Coordinator for Malawi Maria Jose Torres has asked government and opposition parties to work together to save lives and fight a common threat, COVID-19.

Torres said this on Wednesday during the launch of the K157 billion National Covid-19 Preparedness and Response Plan in Lilongwe.

Torres said that people in the country should not take the pandemic for granted considering that other countries are fighting the same battle which is claiming a lot of lives.

She noted that a well-functioning health system is important to the fight against the pandemic.

“This calls for ensuring health capacity for testing, tracing, quarantining and treatment of cases, while keeping first responders safe, combined with measures to restrict movement and contact.

“This is important to prevent the disease from spreading like wildfire here in Malawi,” she said.

Torres added that government should ensure its main objective of protecting the lives of people more especially vulnerable ones living in remote areas.

She further said that people’s rights should also be protected during this crisis.

“Ignoring key human rights or marginalizing vulnerable or minority populations are likely to undermine the public health response.

“For instance, targeted measures to lessen the impact of the crisis on women are needed. Care-giving roles disproportionality fall on women and girls in the home and in the health workforce, which puts them at greater risk of infection,” she said.

The UN resident coordinator then described the launch of the National Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Response Plan as a step in the right direction to coordinate all efforts and contributions in dealing with coronavirus crisis in Malawi and preventing its escalation.

She said the main objective of this response plan is to prevent Covid-19 infections and ensure rapid detecting of cases and effectively responding to any Covid-19 outbreak to reduce loss of lives and socio-economic ramifications.

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