DEFENCE Minister Davies Chama says he is currently under quarantine after returning from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) where he had gone on official duty.

In an interview, Chama explained that he was under quarantine for 14 days as advised by health officials.

When asked if he was one of the high-ranking government officials who were under quarantine as announced by Health Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya, Chama responded in the affirmative.

“Yes, I travelled to the DRC and upon arrival at the airport, the health authorities recommended that I am in the lock-down. I am now seven days in lock-down and I should be able to finish by Thursday next week. So, I want to confirm that I am under lock-down, but I am okay. I am very healthy. I am not moving, I am just at home. It is important to follow what our health specialists are advising us and what government has put in place so that we keep ourselves healthy and also protect other people in case, God forbid, someone contracted the virus,” Chama said.

“And [it’s also important] that you don’t pass it on to another person because once you pass it on to another person, another person will also pass it on to another person. The consequences are dire from the experience of other countries so we don’t want Zambia to be like other countries that lives are being lost because of this deadly disease. It is important to abide by the recommendations from the health authorities.”

Asked if government was considering deploying military personnel to various parts of the country in order to enforce social distancing and control people’s movements, Chama said that was a preserve of the President.

“That is the preserve of the Commander-In-Chief of the Defence forces [President Edgar Lungu], if he sees it fit. We cannot predetermine what will happen. So, let us not be speculative on these matters,” said Chama.

As at Thursday, April 2, Zambia had officially recorded a total of 39 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and one death. According to health authorities, a overwhelming majority of patients who imported the disease into the country were from Pakistan, while a few contracted the virus locally.