COVID-19: Zambia update

3 August 2020.

Africa currently accounts for only a small proportion of total global cases of COVID-19 in terms of overall numbers, but there is growing concern that infection rates are accelerating in many countries across the continent.

Zambia confirmed its first two cases of COVID-19 on 18 March 2020. Although Zambia did not go into full lock-down, a number of restrictions were implemented early on to stop the spread of infection.

With confirmed cases of COVID-19 remaining low and growing pressure to protect livelihoods, many of these restrictions have since been lifted.

Businesses have reopened and schools, colleges and universities have welcomed back some of their students. Although key public health measures around social distancing, hand washing and wearing of face masks continue to be actively promoted, compliance is very mixed.

Although low, the country has seen a significant increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases in recent weeks (WHO African Region):

  • 20 July – confirmed cases 2980, deaths 120
  • 2 August – confirmed cases 6228, deaths 165

Testing has increased, but it is still limited in places and the real number of cases is likely to be higher.

The re-opening of our Centre for Excellence is a cautious one as we continue to closely monitor developments.

The evolving situation around COVID-19 and its potential impact on Zambia’s fragile healthcare system, together with economic pressures around the country’s escalating debt crisis, continues to bring real challenges to the people of Zambia.