Schools and bars are closed by the government, and bars are only open on weekends.

To prevent future escalation of COVID-19 cases across the country, the government has ordered the shutdown of primary and secondary schools for 21 days, among other measures.

The action, according to Secretary to Cabinet Simon Miti, was prompted by inadequate adherence to COVID-19 rules among members of the general public, therefore aggravating the COVID-19 issue.

According to ZANIS, at a media conference in Lusaka yesterday, Dr Miti stated that the government is aware of the pandemic’s harmful impact on the education sector, thus the need to protect the lives of both teachers and students.

He indicated that the directive is subject to review, inspection and certification and also dependent on how the pandemic evolves.

He has therefore instructed school authorities to utilize the period to conduct preventive, monitoring and maintenance activities.

“In the next two weeks, inspections will be conducted by ministries of Health and Disaster Management and mitigation Unit (DMMU) to inform decision-making,” Dr. Miti announced.

Dr Miti has further directed higher learning institutions to provide online sessions for the next one month subject to review.

He added that places of worship have been restricted to start conducting two meetings per week of one hour duration whilst observing the five golden rules against COVID-19.

Dr. Miti further stated that bars, night clubs and casinos will operate from Friday to Sunday from 18:00 to 22:00 hours while eating places have been instructed to operate on take-away basis.

Secretary to cabinet also noted that social gatherings such weddings, kitchen parties among others will be allowed with a maximum number of 50 participants subject to certification by the authorities and that funerals will also be held under strict compliance with a maximum number of 50 people.

He indicated that conferences, workshops and general meetings of all sorts have also been suspended until further notice.

In addition, Dr. Miti stated that public places such as trading places, bus stations and Malls among others should be fumigated at least once every week, as he implored the managers of these places to ensure compliance to health guidelines.

He assured that awareness activities on the fight against COVID-19 will be amplified under the leadership of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services.

“To ensure that all these are adhered to, I direct the relevant ministries and institutions to apply the existing laws in their enforcement,” Secretary to the Cabinet directed.

He however, urged the law enforcers to carry out their duties in a humane way by refraining from harassing members of the general public.

Dr. Miti reiterated the need for concerted efforts in the fight against the pandemic, adding that government will continue to work with local structures and leadership at various levels to promote positive behavioral change.

He stressed that the measures were not meant to punish anyone considering that the country is in an election period, but that there was a need to protect people to be able to exercise the democratic right of selecting their leaders on August 12, 2021.

All measures come into effect starting tomorrow, June 17th 2021 at 06:00hours.

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