By SANFROSSA MANYINDA
GOVERNMENT has directed the Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI) to lead the country’s surveillance and ensure the Indian Covid-19 variant is not imported in the country.
Minister of Health Jonas Chanda said it was important that the surveillance was enhanced as quickly as possible so that possible preparations could commence. Dr Chanda said that Zambia’s geographical location placed it at a greater risk of contracting many viruses from its neighbouring countries, hence the need to be alert.
The minister was speaking when he visited the ZNPHI offices in Lusaka yesterday.
“ We need to see how we can prevent the importation of the Indian variant into the country because Zambia being surrounded by many countries makes it vulnerable to public health threats.
“ We have noted that the Indian variants are not too friendly that is why we are expecting that the ZNHPI leads us in terms of surveillance and what measures we need to take,” he said.
Dr Chanda said there was a need to deal with the problems first unlike waiting for them to generate emergencies.
He said the institute needed to protect the country from all the public health threats according to its mandate.
Dr Chanda further said that the institute had the full support of the government and that it was ready to fund whatever initiatives that it may require to help manage the situation and protect the country.
Meanwhile, a couple that travelled from India and did not quarantine themselves and reportedly met up with friends, has tested positive for Covid.
According to a source close to the couple, the people they met up with also got it and they are in isolation at home having treatment.
The couple is reportedly in hospital under going treatment.
Government has been advised to ensure travelers from India are quarantined and not allowed to go our at all.
“Not even to Work, Mandirs, Mosques, Gudwaras, Temples, Churches, Shopping centers, “ the source said.
“Please make sure that whoever comes from outside the country especially India should be quarantined,” the source insisted.