Hichilema Introduces Pro-People Covid-19 Omicron Variant Measures
3 December 2021
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By A Correspondent- Zambia has announced that its returning citizen should be quarantined at their homes as a way of curbing the transmission of the coronavirus in the Southern African country. 

In Zimbabwe, early this week, President Mnangagwa said all returning citizens would be forced to quarantine for 14 days at their own expense.

Below is Zambia’s full statement on the new measures:

UPDATED GUIDELINES FOR STRENGTHENING SURVEILLANCE AT POINTS OF ENTRY (POE) (30/11/2021)

Zambia has so far had three distinct COVID-19 waves since the first cases were detected in March 2020. Each subsequent wave has had higher cases, mortality and duration compared to the preceding one. While the national incidence of COVID-19 is currently low, the risk of a new wave of COVID-19 remains high. Factors that would facilitate a rise in cases include: i) Low vaccination rates ii) poor compliance to public health and social measures such as masking iii) the emergence of new variants that may be more transmissible and cause more severe disease.

The new Omicron (B.1.1.529) variant has been detected in various countries and the World Health Organisation (WHO) has classified it as a “variant of concern”. Zambia is therefore seeking to strengthen surveillance at Points of Entry to minimise the risk of importation of this and other variants.

In line with WHO and Africa Centres for Disease Prevention and Control (Africa CDC) guidelines, Zambia will not impose a travel ban on any country, however, the following guidelines will apply to all international travel: 

1. Screening for COVIO-19 will continue at all Points of Entry including airports and land crossings: 

i. Port Health officers will observe all arriving passengers to detect those with obvious signs of illness and subject them to further evaluation including testing if indicated. 

ii. All arriving passengers will undergo temperature screening 

iii. Port Health Officers will collect and review health declaration forms completed by all passengers and verify contact details. 

2. All travelers entering Zambia will be required to provide evidence of a negative SARS COV2 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test for a sample collected within 72 hours of departure from the country of origin. Port Health Officers will determine the authenticity and validity of SARS COV2 negative certificates. 

3. All travelers from countries that have reported the Omicron variant will be required to undergo mandatory quarantine for ten (10) days from the date of arrival; 

a. Returning citizens, residents and permit-holders will be allowed to quarantine at home 

b. Non-residents will be quarantined in designated centers at their own cost 

4. Travelers departing from Zambia will be screened and must meet all COVID-19 testing requirements of the country of destination and/or transit.