Zambian president says bringing COVID-19 under control crucial for economic transformation

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Voters wait in a queue at a polling station during the elections in Lusaka, Zambia, Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021. President Edgar Lungu, 64, and the 59-year old businessman Hakainde Hichilema are frontrunners in a field of 16 presidential candidates. National Assembly and local government seats are also being contested.(Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)
FILE PHOTO: Voters wait in a queue at a polling station during the elections in Lusaka, Zambia, Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021. (Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema on Wednesday said bringing COVID-19 under control will be crucial to his government’s aspiration to transform the economy.

Hichilema, who has appointed a COVID-19 Advisor, said all efforts to revive the economy will not materialize as long as the country continues to grapple with the pandemic.

In remarks delivered after he swore in some cabinet and provincial ministers as well as senior government officials, the Zambian president expressed his government’s commitment to bring COVID-19 under control.

He said the appointment of a COVID-19 Advisor was a circumstantial appointment aimed at dealing with the challenges brought by the pandemic.

“Without bringing it under control, it will be very difficult to achieve the agenda of reconstructing the economy because COVID-19 will stand in our way,” he said.

He said he will take advantage of the United Nations General Assembly to seek support from cooperating partners in order to bring the pandemic under control, adding that the advisor will be required to play a critical role.

He has since urged people not to relax in adhering to preventive measures or push for relaxation of the measures as the anticipated fourth wave will hit the country hard.

The Zambian leader further assured that his office will provide support to the advisor and the health ministry in the fight against the pandemic.

Zambia’s cumulative cases stand at 208,161 with 3,636 recorded deaths since the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020.

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