Malawi has banned the sale of food in primary and secondary schools ahead of the new school year, which starts Monday, as the cholera outbreak continues with 117 cumulative deaths recorded as of Sunday.

Requesting parents to pack homemade food for students, the education ministry “is directing that selling of food in primary and secondary schools is banned with immediate effect until further notice,” said a statement signed by Secretary for Education Chikondano Mussa.

Universities and colleges are advised to ensure that food vendors and suppliers are oriented and adhere to the standard operating procedures issued by the ministry to all learning institutions.

Cholera has been spreading sporadically across the country since the first cases were recorded in the south-eastern border district of Machinga in March.

As of Sunday, 23 districts have reported cases with 17 districts coming on board in the past 14 days, bringing the caseload and death toll to 4,223 and 117 respectively.