The Zambia Association of Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ZACCI) says the continued spread of the deadly Coronavirus has the potential to reduce trade between Zambia and China given the increased suspension of travel modalities between the two countries.

The global death toll resulting from the virus has hit 427, with two reported dead outside mainland China as the number of infections passes 20,500, according to Aljazeera news.

ZACCI president Chabuka Kawesha said in an interview that the ravaging virus is sad as it is disrupting commerce and trade between the two countries.

“The position at the moment is yes, we are concerned, it will affect the volumes of trade between Zambia and China given that there is an increased suspension of travel modalities for those who are trading and as well as those in the education sector and those in the retail chain who are obtaining their goods and services from China as well as those in the wholesale sector. So the impact is there. Of course we are concerned about the spread of the disease so there is not much we can do until the disease, the virus, is brought under control and we are monitoring the statements from our Ministry of Health which are giving us guidance with regard to the movement and how to behave and react in relation to the outbreak,” Kawesha said.

“So it is a sad development in that it is disrupting the commerce and trade that exists between our two sisterly nations. It’s quite disruptive, there is a lot of trade between our two countries so we can only hope that the health authorities who are experts in these areas can quickly bring it under control so that normal trade and commerce can resume.”

He, however, called on the business community in the country to be alert and ensure that they are well informed about the disease as they conduct their businesses.

“My observation is that the Ministry of Health and various arms of government like national airports, Immigration, we believe are in constant touch and taking the necessary measures to ensure that all entry and exit points in Zambia have the necessary equipment to detect the virus. We are just encouraging the business community to just be mindful, read a lot about the particular virus that has broken out in China as well as take the necessary precautionary measures with regard to what is being communicated to us by the appropriate authorities from the Ministry of Health,” said Kawesha.