KACHASU traders in some densely-populated areas of Lusaka say closure of bars amid the COVID-19 pandemic has helped their businesses grow owing to the huge patronage they are currently receiving.

But at some homes where Kachasu is sold, basic preventive measures such as hand-washing and social distancing are not adhered to.

In an interview, one of the traders, 67-year-old Rhoda Mbewe of Chazanga Compound, said she was now able to sell up to seven drums of the beverage from an average of three drums she sold before the closure of bars.

“Most people come here because they know that bars are closed and since the police like to whip when they are found, they opt to come and buy here as there has been no report of police raids on Kachasu traders,” Mbewe said.

And when asked whether she was aware of the risk involved in hosting several patrons at her home, she said there was no risk, claiming that COVID-19 only affected those who did not drink alcohol, adding that Kachasu was strong enough to kill the virus.

“Kachasu nimankwala, kulibe kadoyo kangapulumuke (this beverage is medicine, no virus can survive it),” replied Mbewe.

She, however, said that young people needed to embrace their roots and not just rely on modern beers, but buy more traditional drinks to help improve their livelihoods.

Over a month ago, President Edgar Lungu ordered the closure of bars following the rise of COVID-19 cases to help stop a further spread of the virus in the country.