The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Cross Border Traders Association has appealed to cross borders in the SADC region to comply with the border and health management regulations that have been put in place to address the spread of the COVID-19.
Association Chairperson Jacob Makambwe says cross border traders have a vital role to play in ensuring that the further spread of the COVID-19 pandemic is put under control, by adhering to the measures put in place, which include restricted movements and gatherings.
Mr Makambwe told ZANIS in an interview in Lusaka today that to this effect, cross border traders should find alternative means of survival and suspend movement, until the coronavirus that has affected almost all the countries in the SADC region is controlled.
He also advised those that are planning to travel to South Africa, to cancel their journey, adding that the named country has issued a lockdown effective tomorrow March 27th, to last for 21 days.
He added that those that are already in South Africa and other countries that have recorded cases of COVID-19, should come back and avoid being stranded, self- quarantine, as well as report themselves to the health authorities.
And Mr Makambwe has advised the Zambian and Tanzanian governments to consider closing the Nakonda-Tunduma border point, and assess the situation for few days to ensure that there is minimized movements pertaining to trade.
Meanwhile, Mr Makambwe has also advised local manufactures to increase production of various goods and services to help cushion the impact that will arise from the lockdown effected in other countries such as South Africa, where Zambia gets most of its basic essential goods.
He explained that Zambia being an import dependent country for most of its goods and services, there is need for the local producers to increase their production capacity and meet the demand that will be created by restricted movements of people to other countries.
About 7 out of the 14 countries in the SADC region have recorded confirmed cases of COVID-19 coronavirus with South Africa having the highest number at over 700 cases.
Governments in the region have since put in place measures to stop the further spread of the disease, by imposing travel bans and restricted movements and gatherings in a bid to contain the pandemic.