Zambia to reopen restaurants and businesses after revenue drop

Zambian President Edgar Chagwa Lungu sits in the Presidential Palace in Lusaka, Zambia, 20 November 2015. Photo: Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa | usage worldwide (Photo by Bernd Von Jutrczenka/picture alliance via Getty Images)
Zambian President Edgar Chagwa Lungu. (Photo by Bernd Von Jutrczenka/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu in Friday eased confinement measures against the coronavirus and allowed certain businesses to reopen after the shutdown caused a drop in revenue.

The country went into partial lockdown in March 20 shutting borders and businesses and banning public gathering to curb the spread of the virus.

“We have experienced reduced revenue and if the status quo remains the same, our economy will plunge into the worst crisis,” Lungu announced in a televised address to the nation.

“I have therefore seen it inevitable to reopen cinemas, restaurants and gymnasiums,” Lungu said, adding the hotels and lodges could also consider “getting back to normal operations”.

However, bars remain closed and strict health guidelines continue to be observed, including the use of face masks in public places.

Students who are meant to be sitting for exams would go back to class on June 1, Lungu said as he asked school authorities to ensure that social distancing was maintained and all pupils wore face masks.

Zambia has recorded 167 cases of COVID-19, including four deaths and more than 100 recoveries as of date.

“We note that the numbers have generally remained low,” said Lungu.

“It is equally observed that the number of recoveries is high,” he added. “This pandemic is relatively different from what other nations are experiencing.