Malawi’s former President, Joyce Banda, has told a campaign rally that the country has no coronavirus cases and accused the government of “faking” numbers, local media reports.

Politicians are campaigning ahead of a presidential re-run on 23 June after President Peter Mutharika’s re-election last year was nullified by the courts.

Huge political rallies have defied coronavirus prevention measures like social distancing and wearing of face masks.

A recently conducted poll showed that 81% of Malawians are not afraid of coronavirus and are more concerned about hunger.

“We are therefore demanding all the funds which have been pumped into Malawi in the name of Covid-19 to the rightful owners and be used for development projects,” the privately owned Malawi 24 website quotes Ms Banda as saying to supporters in Nkhatabay on Tuesday.

Three months ago, she had accused the government of hiding coronavirus cases.

The former president endorsed opposition presidential candidate Lazarus Chakwera.

Malawi has so far confirmed 455 coronavirus cases and there have been four deaths and 55 recoveries.

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