As of Oct. 19, 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 in place indefinitely.
- Commercial flights are operating, and international air and land borders are open.
- Travel for tourism and business is permitted; however, a visa must be obtained before arrival, and not upon arrival at the airport.
- All incoming travelers must present a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 14 days before arrival in the country.
- Travelers are responsible for monitoring their conditions for 14 days. Any COVID-19 symptoms must be reported to medical authorities.
- Travelers entering Zambia with a temperature of38 C (100.4 F) will be required to undergo COVID-19 testing. Any other travelers may be randomly selected for testing; however, authorities do not strictly enforce this order.
- Travelers tested will be required to quarantine for 14 days at a government facility or until test results are released. There are no quarantine requirements for travelers who present a negative COVID-19 test.
- All returning residents are required to self-isolate for 14 days at their residential location.
- International train and bus services remain suspended until further notice.
- Most businesses are permitted to reopen; however, bars and taverns remain closed.
- Public gatherings of more than five people who are not family relatives need written approval by local authorities.
- The wearing of protective facemasks is mandatory 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.