Coronavirus, COVID-19 — a resource guide for Zambia

Sara Drawwater
24 March 2020
We’ve put together this COVID-19 resource guide to help you and your local community of family, friends and colleagues stay safe and…

Coronavirus, COVID-19 — a resource guide for Zambia

Source: Harvard Medical School

As the international community responds to the Coronavirus we are thinking a lot about our team, customers and communities. We’ve put together this COVID-19 resource guide to help you and your local community of family, friends and colleagues stay safe and healthy.

Statement ‘headlines’ By His Excellency, Dr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President Of The Republic Of Zambia

Monday, 30th March, 2020

My Government crafted and is currently implementing the COVID-19 Contingency and Response Plan, which shall achieve the following:

  1. Strengthened surveillance and creating a more effective response system (including infrastructure with isolation rooms, sufficient oxygen supply, etc.)
  2. Efficient and networked laboratories
  3. Deeper inter-sectoral collaborations
  4. Strengthened Zambian public health system
  5. Secure adequate public health funding. In this regard, my Government has already set aside a budget of ZMW 659 Million under DMMU; and ZMW 57 Million under the Epidemic Preparedness Fund under Ministry of Health.

As President, I will ensure that this Plan is effectively implemented and yields desired results, among them: containing the spread of COVID-19, safeguarding Zambian lives, and restoring accelerated socio-economic development.

I am urging you all to support the above plan by doing the right thing, which is: to strictly adhere to COVID-19 measures which I recently announced and the guidelines given by Ministry of Health.

Wednesday, 25th March, 2020

Countrymen and Women,

  • Zambia is landlocked; and that means, with a crisis of this magnitude, we shall find ourselves under forced lockdown if all our neighbours close their borders. This situation would make us economically vulnerable and weaker.
  • In coming up with measures to stem the spread of covid-19, my Government has devised a phased strategy that will take into consideration interventions for the low and high income groups, low and high density areas, rural and urban areas. It is with this in mind that essential businesses dealing in goods and services will be kept running
  • Let me say this; if your lifestyle has not changed in the past few weeks, then you are doing something wrong and endangering both yourself, your neighbour and your loved ones.
  • Let me now state the measures my Government has started undertaking and will continue to undertake in phase one to mitigate the impact of covid-19:
  1. The zambian missions abroad and department of immigration must be alert to review the issuance of visas for people wanting to travel to zambia, as well as at all ports of entry into the country for all travellers from countries affected by covid-19;
  2. Travellers will be allowed entry into Zambia, however, upon screening, those who exhibit symptoms will be quarantined in a medical facility for treatment, while all other travellers without symptoms will be quarantined for at least 14 days at their own cost;
  3. Government has suspended non-essential foreign travel, particularly, to countries which have confirmed covid-19 cases;
  4. Public gatherings such as conferences, weddings, funerals, festivals are to be restricted to 50 people subject to them complying with public health authority guidelines;
  5. Restaurants must operate only on a take-away and delivery basis;
  6. All bars, night clubs, cinemas, gyms and casinos must close;
  7. All international flights to and from Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula, Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe and Mfuwe International Airports are suspended, instead, all international flights should land at and depart from Kenneth Kaunda International Airport only, to ensure efficient and effective screening of travellers, as well as following them up by our health authorities;
  • The measures I have just announced shall be effected from midnight on thursday 26th march, 2020 and shall be observed for the initial period of 14 days. However, my Government shall constantly review these measures depending on how the pandemic evolves.
  • I know there will be a significant negative socio-economic impact to our communities and the country at large. Therefore, all these measures are critical to ensuring that we avert an imminent socio-economic and health crisis
  • This fight cannot be won without community participation. Let us be each other’s brother and sister’s keeper and encourage one another to seek medical attention whenever one feels unwell and exhibits flu like symptoms.

I have no doubt that, together, we shall fight and conquer the coronavirus disease in Zambia. Thank you and God bless you all.

Ministry of Health

Headlines from Ministry of Health press release, 17th March, 2020

“Of recent concern to us is the rate of spread in Africa. Since the first case in February 2020, the numbers have escalated to 322 cases and 10 deaths, according to reports by 17th March 2020 06:00AM SAT.

Zambia has not yet confirmed any case of COVID-19 (Editors note: since this press release there have been a number of confirmed cases in Zambia) but continues to pitch very high, public health security for the country. The Government of the Republic of Zambia under the leadership of His Excellency Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu has escalated the level of preparedness and put in place intense measures to respond to any event of coronavirus disease

I note with concern a lot of misinformation on the COVID-19; this has exacerbated fear and stigmatisation leaving the unknowledgeable, unprotected and vulnerable. Allow me to emphasise that knowing the facts is key to being properly prepared and protecting yourself and your loved ones. I implore you to take advantage of official information to guide your actions.”

Hon. Dr Chitalu Chilufya MP, MCC, Minister of Health

Ministry of Health press statements on COVID-19

Ministry of Health advice on COVID-19

Zambia Call Center

A Call Centre has been established for the public to report concerns and also receive information on the disease. Dedicated Call Centre numbers are 909 (toll-free), 0953898941, 0964638726 and 0974493553.

What is doing in response to COVID-19

We are following local policies set out by the Ministry of Health and also the recommendations from WHO (World Health Organisation).

31st March

Our team members and working practicesAll team members, both in Zambia and the UK are now working from home. This is in line with stringent restrictions set out by the UK Government and best practice for our staff in Zambia. Our team in Zambia started working from home on Thursday 26th of March. We want to do what we can to keep our people healthy and to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus. Right now that means working from home — despite some of the additional challenges this brings!

We are:

  • Carrying out business as usual through tools like Whatsapp, Skype and Zoom
  • Asking that payments be made by bank transfer rather than cheques, so that we can all play a part in minimising the spread of the virus
  • Discouraging visitors to our Lusaka office

Our customersWe are encouraging new and existing customers to adapt quickly and transition to selling online as quickly as possible. Read our Ecommerce launch article here to find out more.

24th March, 2020

UK staff are working from home as per stringent restrictions set out by the UK government and following the below guidelines.

We are asking all team members and visitors to our premises in Lusaka follow the guidelines set out by the Ministry of Health and make these important changes:

  • Wash your hands regularly. Although soap and warm water is the recommended method for washing your hands, alcohol based sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol in them are also an option
  • Don’t shake hands
  • Do not touch your face, especially your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Avoid unnecessary travel and meetings — we welcome the opportunity to conduct our business and demos over the phone or through video conferencing tools
  • Keep a bigger than usual distance between ourselves — the recommended distance is 2 meters
  • Social distancing if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have recently returned from a high-risk country
  • Regularly clean frequently used surfaces

Doing things this way can have a very big impact on the spread of COVID-19:

Source: Harvard Medical School

Together we can minimize the growth of this disease and its potential impact in Zambia. Stay safe. Stay healthy. Let’s take care of ourselves and our communities by being responsible and kind.

Other international resources

World Health Organisation

What can people do to protect themselves and others from getting the new coronavirus?

Why is it recommended to avoid close contact with anyone who has fever and cough?

How is the new coronavirus affecting people who get it?

How to protect yourself against COVID-19

How to wash your hands effectively

The science of washing your hands

Harvard Medical School

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Our World Data

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