The Zambian Government has on Wednesday directed the closure of Primary and Secondary schools for 21 days among other heightened interventions to mitigate further escalation of COVID-19 cases in the country.

Secretary to Cabinet Simon Miti says the move has been necessitated by poor adherence to COVID-19 guidelines among members of the general public, thereby worsening the COVID-19 situation

Dr. Miti added that the government is cognizant of the negative impact of the pandemic on the education sector hence the need to safeguard the lives of both teachers and learners.

He indicated that the directive is subject to review, inspection, and certification and also dependent on how the pandemic evolves.

He has therefore instructed school authorities to utilize the period to conduct preventive, monitoring, and maintenance activities.

“In the next two weeks, inspections will be conducted by ministries of Health and Disaster Management and mitigation Unit (DMMU) to inform decision-making,” Dr. Miti announced.

Dr. Miti has further directed higher learning institutions to provide online sessions for the next one month subject to review.

He added that places of worship have been restricted to start conducting two meetings per week of one-hour duration whilst observing the five golden rules against COVID-19.

Dr. Miti further stated that bars, nightclubs, and casinos will operate from Friday to Sunday from 18:00 to 22:00 hours while eating places have been instructed to operate on a take-away basis.

Secretary to cabinet also noted that social gatherings such as weddings, kitchen parties among others will be allowed with a maximum number of 50 participants subject to certification by the authorities and that funerals will also be held under strict compliance with a maximum number of 50 people.

He indicated that conferences, workshops, and general meetings of all sorts have also been suspended until further notice.

In addition, Dr. Miti stated that public places such as trading places, bus stations, and Malls among others should be fumigated at least once every week, as he implored the managers of these places to ensure compliance with health guidelines.

He assured that awareness activities on the fight against COVID-19 will be amplified under the leadership of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services.

“To ensure that all these are adhered to, I direct the relevant ministries and institutions to apply the existing laws in their enforcement,” Secretary to the Cabinet directed.

He, however, urged the law enforcers to carry out their duties in a humane way by refraining from harassing members of the general public.

Dr. Miti reiterated the need for concerted efforts in the fight against the pandemic, adding that government will continue to work with local structures and leadership at various levels to promote positive behavioral change.

He stressed that the measures were not meant to punish anyone considering that the country is in an election period, but that there was a need to protect people to be able to exercise the democratic right of selecting their leaders on August 12, 2021.

All measures come into effect starting tomorrow, June 17th, 2021 at 06:00hours.

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