THE United Nations in Zambia has announced the closure of all its country offices in Lusaka to visitors and staff following a rise in the number of cases in the UN family.

In a statement, Monday, UN national information officer Mark Maseko disclosed that the office closure had been necessitated by four members of its staff testing positive for COVID-19.

He said the closure would be for a period of 14 days to strengthen prevention measures in the workplace.

“The United Nations in Zambia has been operating on a reduced physical footprint for all its premises since the activation of its Business Continuity Plan (BCP) in March, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. Notwithstanding, all UN agencies continued their operations in support of Zambia’s development and humanitarian priorities, in particular the implementation of the Government COVID-19 Multisectoral Contingency and Response Plan, with many of its personnel working under partial or full-time telecommuting. While the UN in Zambia introduced strict measures in its premises and facilities, including temperature checks, hygiene and sanitation stations, wearing of masks and physical distancing to prevent the contamination in the workplace, a cumulative total of four UN personnel and three UN dependents had tested positive for COVID-19 as of August 1, 2020,” announced Maseko.

“Against this backdrop, the United Nations will temporarily close all its offices in Lusaka to its personnel, visitors and the majority of contract workers for a period of 14 days, effective August 3, in line with its BCP and in consultation with the national authorities. The closure will facilitate necessary additional preventive, protective and tracing measures following a rise in the number of cases in the UN family in order to mitigate and prevent contamination risks in its premises. Throughout this period of temporary closure, the UN in Zambia will continue operating on a full-time telecommuting arrangement as per normal working hours. The United Nations in Zambia stands in solidarity with the government and people of Zambia as it has done over the past 56 years, and will continue its support to the COVID-19 Multisectoral and Contingency Response Plan, the implementation of the 7th National Development Plan (7NDP) and all efforts to help the country recover from the impact of COVID-19.”