Zambia recorded the first case of COVID-19 on 18 March 2020 and, as 1 July, 1,632 cases had been confirmed and 30 deaths reported. Out of the country's 119 districts, 35 districts have reported COVID-19 cases. Immediately after the first confirmed case, the Government of Zambia introduced measures to mitigate against the spread of the virus including closure of regional airports, restrictions of public gatherings of more than 50 people, closures of religious institutions, bars and restaurants.
On 14 April, the Government introduced a three-day lockdown in Kafue to facilitate contact tracing and undertake community testing to stop the spread of the virus. On 10 May, Nakonde district bordering Tanzania became a hotspot with 642 confirmed cases. The case transmission was attributed to the border post where immigration officials, truck drivers, sex workers and health workers were the first confirmed cases. A 10-day lockdown was introduced to prevent the spread from 12 to 22 May. The UN deployed a multisectoral response team to support the Ministry of Health (MOH)/ Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI) response to the outbreak. The multisectoral response team focused on supporting health worker case management, IPC training of immigration official, provision of WASH in key designated points, risk communication and community engagement and ascertaining the protection issues and referral systems in place. On 29 June, the MOH requested a clinical team r to support the district health official in Ndola where an increase in caseload was reported.
On 26 May, the Government withdrew some of the initial restriction measures and recommended the opening of schools for student examination years and of restaurants and gyms subject to adherence to public health measures and social distancing. The wearing of masks in public places became mandatory and all retail business are required to have handwashing/sanitizers amenities at entrance of their businesses. Further, on 25 June, the President announced that all international airports have re-opened and a booster package for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) was declared as a means of regenerating the economy and acceptance of having to co-exist with COVID-19 as a new normal way of working and living.
Partners are concerned that with the lifting of restrictions there is a noted relaxation of people’s adherence to wearing masks and practicing social distancing.