PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu says Zambians will perish if they don’t change their behavior in extraordinary ways during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a Facebook post, Sunday, the Head of State said he was concerned about the rising person-to-person transmissions which had been recorded.

“I am very concerned by the new local cases of person-to-person COVID-19 transmissions which have been revealed through the vigorous screening and testing being conducted by our Ministry of Health.
As you may already be aware, a 19-year old young woman from Bauleni who attempted suicide before admission has sadly lost her life. In the process of trying to manage her condition, our 2 health workers at Chilenje Hospital unfortunately contracted COVID-19. In total, the country conducted 397 tests within the last 24 hours which revealed 2 new COVID-19 cases from Kafue in addition to the 2 cases of health workers from Chilenje Hospital mentioned above. This brings the total number of new cases in the last 24 hours to 4.
Based on best experiences in global health learned from past outbreaks such as Ebola, all contacts of new cases are being traced and tested by our Ministry of Health. As this happens, vigorous mass screening and testing in Kafue, Lusaka and other areas shall both continue and be scaled-up,” President Lungu wrote.

“Indeed, a family or friend visiting another is a cherished Zambian tradition during normal times. Sadly, these are not normal times. Hence, we must all change our behaviours in extraordinary ways – or perish.”

He said he was also concerned about the World Health Organization’s warning that Africa would become the next epicenter of the virus.

“Fellow citizens, I am equally concerned by recent warnings from the World Health Organization (WHO) that Africa could potentially become the next global epicentre of COVID-19. The above should be taken only as a timely warning of what we risk to bring upon ourselves if we continue to refuse to do the basics such as: wearing masks (home-made or others) when in public; frequent handwashing; keeping a clean environment; no public gatherings; physical distancing, and ensure that we stay at home and in our respective towns, cities and districts. As the well-known wise saying goes: “forewarned is forearmed”. In light of the aforementioned WHO warning and the new scientific evidence of local person-to-person COVID-19 transmissions in Zambia; let us not resign to fate, but bear in our minds that any region or country can potentially become the next epicentre if prescribed measures are not followed,” President Lungu stated.

“I believe that Zambia’s success in its war against COVID-19 will be primarily determined by two factors:
1. Effective implementation of global best practices in public health, which my Government is doing.
2. Collective responsibility manifested through immediate behavioural change vis-à-vis the COVID-19 measures which I announced during my first and second addresses to the nation on COVID-19.”

He warned those who were breaching COVID-19 prevention measures to stop doing so in order to safe guard their lives and the lives of their families.

“With regard to the collective responsibility and behavioural change required of all of us such as the mandatory wearing of masks and avoiding inter-city travel and family visits, among others; it is sad to note that some of our fellow citizens have continued to act contrary to basic yet lifesaving measures.
To those who are doing this: Stop It Now! You are not only endangering your own lives, but also endangering the lives of your own families and friends, neighbours and all Zambians,” stated President Lungu.