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President Edgar Lungu has annouced that Zambia has recorded a rise in covid-19 cases since the outbreak of the pandemic in the country, directing that all bars, nightclubs, cinemas, casinos and gyms should be closed.

Addressing the nation at state house on Wednesday morning, President Lungu revealed that the total number of cases has risen to 12 and that 11 of the affected victims had travelled outside the country and got the pandemic while one victim had come into contact with the affected locally.

Mr. Lungu said cabinet had already approved the covid-19 contingence plan and directed the Ministry of Finance to mobilise resources for all line ministries.

We are all aware that my cabinet has directed Ministry of Finance to mobilise resources to enable line ministries, private sector and other key stakeholders to contain and combat the spread of the coronavirus diseases in a multi-sectoral and coordinated manner,

he stated.

The president called upon Zambian missions abroad and Departments of immigration to be alert in reviewing the issuance of Visas for all people travelling to Zambia especially those coming from countries affected by the pandemic.

He stated that travellers will still be allowed into the country but will be subjected to screening and that those that display symptoms will be quarantined in a medical facility for treatment while the rest of the travellers without symptoms would be quarantined for a period of 14 days at their own cost.

He also affirmed that non-essential foreign travel to countries with confirmed cases of the pandemic has been suspended.

Mr. Lungu further directed that all bars, night clubs, cinemas, gyms and casinos should be closed while restaurants would only operate on a take away and delivery basis.

He suspended all international flights to and from Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula, Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe and Mfuwe International airports.

All international flights should land at and depart from Kenneth Kaunda International Airport only to ensure efficient and effective screening of travelers as well as following them up by our health authorities,

he said.

He stated that the measures put in place would ensure that the country deters a looming socio-economic and health crisis as the world grapples with one of its greatest adversaries to mankind and that measures shall be in effect from midnight on Thursday 26 March 2020 for a period of 14 days.

He said a crisis of such magnitude would push the country into a forced lockdown if all its neighbours closed their boarders and that this would negatively impact the economy.

The president however expressed sadness by the attitude exhibited by most Zambians who he noticed are not taking the pandemic with the seriousness it deserves.

He called upon everyone to adhere to the health guidelines put in place to mitigate the pandemic at various levels.

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