The President of Zambia, Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, announced yesterday (March 25), that the government would launch phase one of its plan to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 – which includestravel restrictions.

Lungu said travellers would be allowed to enter Zambia but would be screened, and those who showed symptoms of COVID -19 would be quarantined in a medical facility for treatment.

The Zambian government has suspended all non-essential foreign travel, especially to countries that have confirmed cases of COVID-19.

All international flights at Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport (Livingstone), Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport (Ndola) and Mfuwe International Airport have been suspended.

“Instead, all international flights should land at and depart from Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (Lusaka) only,” said the Zambian President. “This is to ensure efficient and effective screening of travellers as well as following them up by our health authorities.”

Public gatherings such as conferences and festival have been restricted to at least 50 people. Zambia has three confirmed COVID-19 cases.

“The measures I have just announced will be effected from midnight on Thursday, March 26, and be observed for the initial period of 14 days,” said Lungu. “However, my government will constantly review these measure depending on how the pandemic evolves.”

Botswana cancels motor race

The 2020 Toyota 1000-kilometre Desert Race (TDR) has been cancelled following a digital meeting of all stakeholders.

This is one of the many sporting events cancelled or postponed worldwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The date for the 2021 TDR will be announced in due course.

CEO of the South African Cross Country Series, Archie Rutherford, said the decision was necessary.

“First and foremost, our priority is the health and safety of fans, teams, and organisations, as well as the wider society,” said Rutherford. “We apologise to those fans affected by the cancellation of the TDR 1000 as well as the postponement of the other races to date.”

Botswana Tourism Organisation CEO, Myra Sekgororoane, said the country could not distance itself from global developments. “Due to the ongoing and fluid nature of the COVID-19 situation globally, the avenue of postponement for this iconic event to take place in Botswana later in the year is not possible in view of other planned events and the seasonal conditions.

“The timeous cancellation of the event also gives hotels and service providers in the area an opportunity to engage with other activities to attract local travel to this beautiful destination.” concluded Sekgororoane.