Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Zambia close border with Tanzania at Nakonde from May 11, but ease other restrictions related to COVID-19.

This alert affects Zambia

This alert began 10 May 2020 22:22 GMT and is scheduled to expire 15 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Transport and business disruptions

Authorities in Zambia have announced that they will close the country's border with Tanzania at Nakonde from May 11 until further notice as part of their efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Authorities have said the measure is temporary and will allow them to properly train and supply immigration staff with personal protective equipment (PPE) so they are able to deal with the arrival of travelers into the country adequately.

Zambian authorities announced May 8 that they would ease certain restrictions related to COVID-19 by allowing restaurants, gyms, and casinos to reopen. However, bars and taverns will remain closed until further notice.

Other measures taken by the government of Zambia include:

  • Ndola (NLA), Livingstone (LVA), and Mfuwe (MFU) airports are closed; however, Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (LUN) in Lusaka remains operational.
  • Zambian borders - with the exception of the Zambian-Tanzanian border at Nakonde - remain open but under tight screening procedures.
  • A mandatory 14-day quarantine at government health facilities for all persons entering Zambia is in place until further notice.
  • All public schools have been closed since March 20 until further notice.
  • All tourist visas are suspended until further notice. Travelers arriving with a visitor visa or applying for a visitor visa upon arrival to the country for nonessential reasons will not be permitted. Entrance to Zambia through nontourist visas is subject to the approval of health personnel following a health screening at the port of entry.

Authorities could implement further preventative measures or ease certain restrictions, depending on disease activity in the coming days and weeks.

Background and Analysis
The Zambian government's preventive measures are similar to actions taken by other regional governments in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Back to the COVID-19 Risk Intelligence & Resource Center