Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Zambia maintains COVID-19 restrictions as of Sept. 18. International air travel ongoing; land borders remain open.

Alert Begins 18 Sep 2020 11:14 AM UTC
Alert Expires 12 Oct 2020 11:59 PM UTC

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Travel and movement restrictions; potential delays

As of Sept. 18, authorities in Zambia have eased some restrictions put in place to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Despite these developments, several restrictions remain indefinitely.

International Travel
Commercial flights are operating, and international air and land borders are open. Officials stated July 29 that all incoming travelers must present a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 14 days before arrival in the country. Arriving travelers are required to self-isolate for 14 days and provide their location to the Ministry of Health. Travelers presenting COVID-19 symptoms upon arrival will be tested and required to quarantine at a designated government facility. International train and bus services remain suspended until further notice.

Despite the borders being open, all tourist visas remain suspended until further notice. Travelers arriving with a visitor visa or applying for a visitor visa upon arrival for nonessential reasons will not be permitted to enter the country. Entrance to Zambia through nontourist visas is subject to the approval of health personnel following a health screening at the port of entry.

Domestic Measures
Most businesses have been permitted to reopen; however, bars and taverns remain closed. Public gatherings are limited to 50 people. Public schools have been closed since March 20 until further notice. Facemasks are compulsory and must be worn in public spaces.

Limited domestic flights are operating between Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (LUN) and Mfuwe International Airport (MFU), and between LUN and Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport (LVI) in Livingstone.

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.

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