We would like to begin by acknowledging and commending the government’s good response to the global coronavirus pandemic.
Though the pandemic is in its early days and we are taking what seems to be the right measures, there should be no room for complacency.
We should hope for the best but prepare immediately for the worst.
From what we are witnessing in Italy, our very limited facilities and resources could quickly be overwhelmed by the virus’ spread.
Italy, which is far from having the coronavirus crisis under control, has just passed China in total deaths, even though China has 25 times its population. Italy is the hell the United States and United Kingdom may be facing in two to three weeks.
The situation can adversely change very quickly if the virus gets to Kwa where our people are living in very crowded conditions.
In these areas where there’s also poor supply of clean water and unacceptable sanitation services, transmission of the virus can be very fast.
Today our country has more than 1.2 million people living with HIV and most of these live in Kwa. And some of these are suffering from tuberculosis. This makes them more vulnerable to the virus.
Quarantining people in crowded Kwa areas may not be easy.
Older adults and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from coronavirus illness.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease.
And as the Minister of Health, Dr Chitalu Chilufya, has explained, the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person. Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
We urge all our people to follow the Ministry of Health guides and take steps to protect themselves.
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 per cent alcohol.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Take steps to protect others.
Stay home if you are sick, except to get medical care.
Please, please take the instructions or advice of the Ministry of Health very, very seriously.
The impact of this virus on our economy can already be seen. Let’s brace ourselves for very difficult times ahead.
Issued by Fred M’membe on behalf of the Politburo of the Socialist Party
March 20, 2020
Garden Compound, Lusaka