UPDATE – Zambia shuts pubs for 2 weeks, confirms 47 new COVID deaths


By James Kunda

LUSAKA, Zambia (AA) – Zambia has shut down all pubs, nightclubs and casinos with immediate effect for ignoring COVID-19 guidelines and operating outside stipulated hours.

Ministry of Local Government Permanent Secretary Matthew Ngulube said the facilities would only operate on a takeaway basis.

Speaking at a news conference Monday in the capital Lusaka, Ngulube said the closures are subject to a review in 14 days.

The decision to close the premises comes after local authorities conducted spot checks on compliance but found most entities failing.

Speaking alongside Ngulube, Police Inspector General Kakoma Kanganja warned members of the public and business entities in the habit of breaking the law with respect to the COVID-19 regulations.

Kanganja directed his regional police command commissioners to ensure that they partnered with local authorities in conducting patrols at markets and bus stations, which are super spreader sites.

Health Ministry Permanent Secretary for Technical Services Kennedy Malama said in the latest COVID-19 update issued Tuesday that 47 new COVID-19 deaths were recorded in the last 24 hours.

Among the deceased was a toddler aged one year and two months, the first amid the third wave of the pandemic which struck the country early this month.

This brought the country’s cumulative death toll to 2,138.

Malama also reported 2,395 new confirmed COVID-19 cases from 9,952 tests conducted.

This brought the nation’s tally to 152,056.

He said 3,548 recoveries had also been recorded in the same period, taking the total to 128,310.

Out of 21,608 active cases, 20,266 were under community care and 1,342 in isolation facilities.

Of these, Malama said, 962 were on oxygen, with 194 in critical condition.

Of the eligible Zambians, 140,065 have so far been inoculated with the first and second doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, while 13,041 have received the first and second doses of the Sinopharm vaccine.