Health officials announced on Wednesday, July 29, that all travelers will be required to present a negative PCR test, acquired no more than 14 days prior to travel, on arrival into the country's airports amid the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Lusaka's Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (LUN) is operational, as well as regional airports such as Ndola Airport (NLA), Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport (LVI) in Livingstone, though airports may be operating limited services.
Individuals are also required to complete a medical questionnaire and will be subject to additional screening at airports on their arrival. Those showing symptoms will be subject to further testing and will be placed into a designated government quarantine facility until test results are obtained. Individuals arriving are no longer required to quarantine at a government designated facility but may be required to self-isolate and will be required to communicate with officials where they intend to reside and provide accurate contact information for follow ups. These do not apply to those arriving by road.
Following the emergence of the first cases of COVID-19 in Zambia in late March, authorities closed borders and schools, banned public gatherings, and shut down many business sectors which were deemed non-essential to the economy. Schools, restaurants, and cinemas have since reopened as restrictions have been eased over the past two months. The wearing of face masks is compulsory in public places, whilst bars and taverns remain closed and gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited.
As of Thursday, August 6, there have been 7022 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Zambia and 175 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.
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 (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
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.
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