As coronavirus surges, countries around the world are adopting stringent measures, including canceling flights and sealing their borders to stem the spread of the deadly virus. But the Zambian government has announced that its borders would remain open despite recording 12 cases of the virus, BBC reports.
In a national address on Wednesday, President Edgar Lungu said the government would not close its borders because it would weaken the economy.
“Zambia is landlocked; and that means, with a crisis of this magnitude, we shall find ourselves under forced lockdown if all our neighbors close their borders. This situation would make us economically vulnerable and weaker.
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“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,” the president said.
He, however, suspended all international flights, except those landing and departing from the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport in the capital, Lusaka.
Public gatherings such as conferences, weddings, funerals, festivals are also to be restricted to at least 50 people while restaurants must operate only on a take-away and delivery basis, the president announced.
All bars, night clubs, cinemas, gyms and casinos must close, he ordered.
The new measures take effect at midnight on Thursday and will be reviewed after two weeks.
Coronavirus, officially known as COVID_19, has killed more than 21,000 people and affected over 472,000 people since it emerged last December.
In Africa, which has been among the last to be hit by the global pandemic, 46 countries have confirmed cases, with more than 13 reported deaths.