On Wednesday, March 25, authorities announced a number of new measures effective as of Friday, March 27, amid the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic. As such the issuance of visas for travelers from COVID-19-affected countries will be reviewed. While travelers will still be allowed in the country, those exhibiting symptoms will be quarantined in medical facilities for at least 14 days at their own expense.
Additionally, authorities have asked citizens to avoid all non-essential foreign travel, banned public gatherings of more than 50 people, closed restaurants bars, clubs, cinemas, gyms, and casinos.
Furthermore, all international flights to and from Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula (LVI), Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe (NLA) and Mfuwe airport (MFU) are suspended until further notice. All international flights will land at and depart from Kenneth Kaunda International airport (LUN) only as of Friday, March 27.
Additionally, authorities announced the suspension of cross border public passenger services, of railway passenger services, and of all cross border cargo transportation, although those carrying essential commodities will be allowed in the country. Furthermore, water transportation will have its capacity reduced to 60 percent.
Previously, the Zambian government closed schools and universities until further notice.
As of Thursday, April 9, there are 39 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and one related death nationwide. Further spread of the virus is expected.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
Potentially impacted travelers are advised to monitor the situation, confirm travel itineraries, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by using alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.