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Cholera-hit Zambia rues neighboring countries' restrictions

Staff Writer |
The Zambian government said that it was not necessary for some neighboring countries to restrict travels by Zambians and halt food imports due to a cholera outbreak.

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According to reports, the Namibian government has resolved to provisionally ban importation of all perishable food, fruits, unprocessed food and water from Zamia following a cholera outbreak.

Other neighboring countries such as Tanzania and Malawi are reported to have imposed measures to restrict entries by Zambians.

Minister of Local Government Vincent Mwale said such measures were not necessary as the cholera situation was not out of control and as the government has put in place stringent measures to curtail further spread.

"Why should they do this now when they never imposed restrictions when we have higher cholera cases in the past," he said in a live interview on HOT FM radio.

He also said there were many parts of the country that have not recorded any cases.

Zambia has recorded a cholera outbreak especially in Lusaka, the country's capital, since October last year with over 2,800 cases so far.

The Zambian government said Thursday that its interventions to tackle a cholera outbreak have started bearing fruits with marked reduction of new cases in the last two days.

Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya said at a press briefing that new cholera cases have dropped to an average of 80 in the last two days from a high of 164, representing a 50-percent reduction.

"We have continued to report marked reduction in the number of new cases and this is good," Chilufya said.

According to him, out of the cumulative 2,840 cases recorded, the ministry has successfully treated 2,610, with over 60 deaths, mostly due to failure to seek medical treatment in time.

The minister said the launch of the oral cholera vaccination on Wednesday was another move to accelerate the fight to the epidemic.

He also advised the public to continue observing high standards of hygiene in order to contain the waterborne disease.

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