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Zambia has recorded nine new cases of coronavirus (COVID-19), bringing the total number of confirmed people that are infected with the disease in the country to 12.

President Edgar Lungu announced during his address to the nation today that 11 of the infected people had travelled abroad in recent weeks and contracted the deadly disease outside Zambia.

Dr. Lungu explained that the twelfth person got the COVID-19 locally through physical contact with those that recently travelled abroad.

“Exactly nine days after the first two COVID-19 cases were announced, 10 more cases have now been identified bringing the number to 12,” he said.

He said government has since started undertaking additional measures to help stop the spread of the disease.

The measures include the closure of all bars and night clubs, together with the suspension of all international flights landing at the country’s international airports except Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA) in Lusaka.

All bars, night clubs, cinemas, gyms and casinos must close. 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 (KKIA) only to ensure efficient and effective screening of travellers, as well as following them up by our health authorities,” he said.

The President said these measures will be effected from midnight on Thursday, March 26, 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,” he added.

Dr. Lungu further announced that government has suspended non-essential foreign travel particularly to countries which have confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease.

The President said at an opportune time, he will give an update and guidance on the disease and government’s continued response.

And President Lungu said although there will be a significant negative socio-economic impact on the Zambian communities and the entire country, the measures taken were critical to ensure that the imminent crisis is averted.

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