Malawian President Lazarus Chakwera decreed three days of national mourning after two members of his cabinet succumbed to COVID-19 on Tuesday.

Local Government Minister Lingson Belekenyama and the Minister for Transport Muhammad Sidik Mia died in the capital Lilongwe.

The two are the highest-ranking public officials so far to succumb to the virus in Malawi.

Chakwera said the government was considering declaring a state of emergency.

Malawi’s Information Minister Gospel Kazako has more: 

On Monday Malawi recorded 452 new COVID cases and 10 new deaths, the highest daily average since the first case was confirmed in April, the co-chair of the Presidential Task Force on COVID, John Phuka, said in a statement.

He said Malawi now had a cumulative total of 9 027 cases, and 235 deaths.

Some 1 852 of the cases were imported cases, mostly from returnees from South Africa, where a new highly contagious variant of the virus was found.