United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema has called on Edgar Lungu’s government to monitor on events in the countries that have put in place lock-downs and learn from them how they have been coping.
Hichilema says the country should monitor and study how countries with similar poverty levels, unemployment rates, and economic challenges as Zambia, such as Zimbabwe, Botswana and probably South Africa, are managing their lock-downs.
“We are closely monitoring the implementation of lockdowns across countries where poverty levels are high, with high density living conditions. We will continue offering advice to the Ministry of Health to consider a well executed lockdown that will save our people,” he says.
Meanwhile, Hichilema urges fellow Zambians to put the nation comes first, ahead of partisan politics and any differences the leaders may have. “As we enter a new week, we will continue offering solutions to the prevailing challenges our nation is facing.
“In order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, as well as the growing economic fallout, we must join hands and take on a range of expert advice from various stakeholders. Solutions are often missed where there is intolerance to alternative views and perspectives from those whom we do not agree with,” he says.
He says he is grateful for the hard working healthcare professionals on the frontline and also the officials at the Ministry of Health. Hichilema says it is indeed a relief that there were no new COVID 19 cases reported as of yesterday.
He urges the nation to be cognizant of the fact that there is a direct correlation between the number of tests being carried out, and the number of cases being reported, as evidenced by other countries.
“In short, to ascertain the real picture of COVID-19 in Zambia, we need extensive testing capabilities in order to avoid an artificially low number.
“Such a scenario would give a false sense of hope in our communities, which would in turn create an insurmountable challenge in the sensitization processes of the public. Going by other countries, at the rate of infection we should have been doing more than 3000 tests a day.
“We therefore call on the Ministry of Health to rally the private sector and other well-wishers to make more provisions for test kits. As always, we are available to provide support in this regard,” says Hichilema.