Coronavirus: Zambia Situation Report, 15 June 2020

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Highlights

The first imported COVID-19 case was reported on 18 March 2020 and as of 08 June 1,200 cases have been confirmed, including ten deaths. Out of the country’s 119 districts, 27 have reported cases of COVID-19. Laboratory testing and reagents have been identified as key challenge. On 8 May, the Government withdrew some of the initial measures and recommended opening of schools for student examination years, restaurants and gyms. On 1 June, examination classes in both primary and secondary re-opened on condition that all public health guidelines and regulations are enforced.

Situation Overview

Zambia recorded its first case of COVID-19 on 18 March 2020 and, as 8 June, 1,200 cases had been confirmed and 10 deaths reported. Out of the 119 districts, 27 districts have reported COVID-19 cases. The Government of Zambia introduced a series of measures to mitigate against the spread of the virus including closure of regional airports, restrictions of public gatherings of more than 50 people, closures of religious institutes, bars and restaurants. On 8 May, the Government receded on some of the initial measures and recommended the opening of schools for student examination years and opening of restaurants and gyms subject to adhere to public health measures and to social distancing. The wearing of masks in public places became mandatory and all retail business are required to have handwashing/ sanitizers amenities at entrances of their businesses.

On 10 May, the Nakonde District which borders Tanzania became a COVID-19 hotspot with more than 609 cases (including 84 symptomatic cases), representing more than 50 per cent of the total cases in country. The confirmed cases widely related to cross border interaction with Tanzania this includes immigration officers, truck drivers, sex workers, health workers and known contacts. A 10-day lockdown was implemented to prevent the spread of COVID-19 within the district. Initial findings from the multi-sectoral response mission which deployed to Nakonde from 16 to 22 May highlighted the following urgent priorities for increased support: health workers capacity (personnel and resources) on infection prevention and control (IPC) and case management of patients with COVID-19 in designated hospitals; laboratory capacity to test and provide timely results; support to the district health office to implement home-based care approach with asymptomatic cases and ensure the availability of sufficient and appropriately trained community health volunteers to conduct house to house follow up; community sensitization on COVID-19 prevention, promotion of social distancing and advocating the wearing masks in public places especially in markets alongside regular handwashing. Further, there is a need to improve cross border collaboration to mitigate the risk of cross border transmission.

In May, the Government of Zambia COVID-19 Multisectoral Contingency & Response Plan and the UN and partners COVID-19 Emergency Appeal were officially launched by the Vice President Inonge Wina. The UN and partners’ Appeal requires US$132.9 million to support the COVID-19 multisectoral response targeting 6.2 million people.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

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