Government has imposed a curfew in Lusaka’s Kanyama compound and has also ordered that bars only operate between 11:00 hours and 19:00 hours.
Updating the nation on government’s efforts to contain the spread of cholera at a media briefing, Sunday, Minister of Health Dr Chitalu Chiluya announced that for the next seven days, Kanyama residents would be expected to be indoors by 18:00 hours.
“Lusaka has recorded 90 new cases of cholera in various treatment centre, 35 of these are children and 55 are adults…three brought in dead bodies were brought into various facilities, one in Chelston, one in Kanyama and one in Chipata Compound. We do note strange activities happening in Kanyama area…because of the rising numbers in Kanyama and Kanyama having recorded the highest fatality in this outbreak and because of poor compliance of interventions that have been put in place by our citizens that has resulted in continuous street vending and trading in designated areas beyond 18:00 hours when our armed forces move out, we have put in measures to ensure compliance so beginning today (yesterday) at 18:00 hours, we are restricting all activities in Kanyama…Kanyama will have a curfew from 18:00 hours until the following morning at 6 O Clock and this will be in effect for the next seven days,” Dr Chilufya said.
“We took 900 water samples in Kanyama and more than 800 shallow wells have produced evidence of faecal contamination and 30 per cent of that is vibrio cholera and this is what is fuelling the epidemic…burying of shallow wells will continue, we have more than 2,000 shallow wells in Kanyama. Government has moved in to improve access to fresh water by putting up 100 new water points.”
Dr Chitalu also refuted a story which appeared in the Daily Nation yesterday claiming that eight Chinese nationals had been affected by cholera.
“I would like to refer to some article that appeared in the press today referring to the Chinese, that they had succumbed to cholera. The eight Chinese that were admitted on 4th December 2017 were admitted for diarrhoea due to food poisoning and it was not vibrio cholera. They were treated successfully and discharged. So they were not victims of cholera. We would like to urge our friends in the press not to discriminate people suffering from cholera by referring to their race and tribe,” he said.
He announced more trading places which had been closed down for sanitation related problems.
“There are premises that remain closed and these include PicknPay Woodlands, Choppies Supermarket in Matero, Spar Mumbwa Road, Debonairs Levy Park, Shoprite Twin Palm, Davies Supply Woodlands extension, Steven Mwansa Meat Supply in Misisi Compound, Tendai Butchery in Kuku Compound, Uncle Jay’s grocery in Misisi compound, Banda butchery in Misisi Compound, New Hope Grocery in Kuku Compound, Big Five Bottle Store in Kuku Compound, Kankoyo Breweries in Kuku Compound, Mahalk Restaurant Kabulonga Centro Mall, Asian Hut Levy Mall, Wimpy Levy Mall, Mika Convention Centre and Zambeef Kabwata for various reasons surrounding sanitation and food safety,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr Chilufya announced that some eating places like Hungry Lion outlets which were closed would soon be reopened after meeting the acceptable standards.
“Let me conclude by commending business entities that have responded positively to what we have been doing as a multi sectorial team and for responding to recommendations that have been set by inspectorate teams. I am happy to announce that the following outlets shall be reopened as they have met health stipulations as recommended by health inspectors. This includes Hungry Lion Kulima Tower, Hungry Lion Cairo Road, Hungry Lion Society Park, Kumushi Restaurant in Show Grounds, Kum and ET take away Down Town, M & M take away in Katunjila, Zaza Take Away on Freedom Way. This shows that our health inspectors are on the ground to ensure that there is public safety,” said Dr Chilufya.
Meanwhile, Minister of Local Government Vincent Mwale announced that bars would only be allowed to operate from 11:00 hours to 19:00 hours.
“In the epicentres of this epidemic, we expect that bars shall remain closed until the situations gets back to normal. We have noted that there have been issues of compliance in this area, we are going to make sure that men in uniform help us to enforce. We have also extended this to other areas where we have not recorded cholera cases. We are now saying that bars and night clubs will only open from 11:00 hours to 19:00b hours because people can move from the epicentres to other places to enjoy themselves. We think that was cross contaminating people in other areas. This measure will last seven days. We will review this after seven days,” Mwale said.
He also declared Chinika Market illegal.
“We have noticed that people who were removed from Soweto Market have moved to Chinika grounds but that is illegal. We want to make sure that we do not leave any stone unturned,” he said.
Mwale announced that government had allowed farmers to trade in some designated areas in order to cushion losses.
“We have agreed with ZNFU that we are going to settle for some safety zones to allow farmers to directly sell some farm produce in a very safe manner and we are going to minimise crowds gathering to do this…we do not want to see a situation where we have high food prices because we are not allowing some food to be sold. This measure will take effect as soon as we discover these places so that we prepare them,” said Mwale.
And speaking at the same briefing, ZNFU president Jarvis Zimba said he was grateful that government had agreed to allow farmers to operate for a few hours everyday.