Sunday, June 23, 2024

COVID-19 is the new normal, we have to learn to live with it-President Lungu


President Edgar Lungu has announced the relaxation of some measures that were announced two months ago that were aimed at stopping the spread of Covid-19.

Meanwhile, Zambia has in the last 24 hours recorded 14 new Covid-19 cases bringing the cumulative total to 167.

In his national address, President Lungu announced the reopening of Gyms and Cinemas saying it is time Zambians learnt to live with the new normal.

And President Lungu has also reopened restaurants and casinos whilst ordering that pupils in examination classes should return to school.

He said the reopened businesses have a responsibility to enhance hygene facilities at their premises.

Meanwhile, the Head of State has directed the reopening of primary and secondary schools by June 1, 2020 but ensure that all hygiene standards are in place to ensure safety of students in the context of the “new normal”.

On the new cases, President Lungu said they include six truck drivers and two health workers.

Below is the full Speech to the Nation


Fellow countrymen and women;

  1. I would like to start my address today by thanking you, the people of Zambia for the understanding, resilience and support my administration has received since I announced the first measures aimed at protecting our lives from the COVID-19 pandemic.

  2. I know and fully understand that it has not been easy to live our lives in a way that is drastically different from what we have been used to, but the grace of God has seen us thus far! I know that many of you, especially in the informal sector, have had your businesses suffer greatly. I know that our children have had their educational progression hindered as a result of the closure of schools, colleges and universities.

  1. I know that many lives have changed in various ways as a result of the measures we have taken during this COVID-19 pandemic. This situation is not our own making. Our decisions as government have been inevitable and premised on our duty to save lives.

  2. As we respond to COVID-19, my government is striking a delicate balance between saving lives and restoring the economy.

  3. As you may be aware, the COVID-19 pandemic and its evolution has compelled governments, the world-over, to implement drastic measures to fight the disease, and Zambia is no exception.

Countrymen and women,

  1. I am aware of the global pattern and devastating impact of the disease on the economic and social spheres.

  2. Globally, close to four million positive cases of COVID-19 have now been recorded. Out of these, more than one million have recovered, while almost two hundred and seventy thousand have died.

Countrymen and women,

  1. In the last 24 hours, Zambia has recorded 14 positive cases out of 683 tests. They comprise six truck drivers tested in Chirundu, two healthcare workers in Lusaka and Kabwe, one contact to a positive case, one from routine screening at ndola central hospital,

And three patients from health facility screening, and one Tanzanian lorry mate screened in Chililabombwe.

Countrymen and women,

  1. The trend analysis in general terms, over a period of close to two months since Zambia recorded its first case of COVID-19, has revealed the following:

      1. 167 have tested positive to COVID-19 out of 11,352 tested, representing 1.5 percent of those tested;

      2. Of the 167 positive cases recorded and quarantined, 109 have since fully recovered, discharged and have happily rejoined their families. This is a remarkable achievement.

      1. On a sad note, Zambia has experienced four deaths related to COVID-19. However, medical reports of the three of these recorded deaths, showed they had serious underlying health conditions.

Countrymen and women,

  1. From this trend analysis, we note that the number of infections recorded after testing in communities has remained generally low.

  2. We further note that the health status of the patients that are positive and under treatment for COVID-19, is generally stable.

  1. It is equally observed that the number of recoveries has consistently remained high among our people.

  2. From this trend analysis, it can be generally said that this pandemic, in the case of Zambia, is relatively different from what other nations are experiencing, where their infection and death rates have been much higher.

  3. However, these nations that have been hardest hit by the pandemic are still struggling, but, unlike us, they have began to open up their socio-economic environment in the context of the “new normal – living with COVID-19”.

  1. The “new normal” means living with COVID-19 just like we have lived with other diseases such as, malaria, hiv and aids, and tuberculosis, provided we adhere to the prescribed health guidelines, regulations and certification for COVID-19.

Countrymen and women,

  1. In embracing “the new normal-living with COVID-19”, let us continue to vigorously fight this disease and not become complacent.

  2. The complexity of COVID-19 really calls for our Zambian scientists to get to work and answer the many questions surrounding coronavirus.

Their findings will help government to make informed decisions. Let us not entirely depend on other country’s findings.

Countrymen and women,

  1. Globally, you are all aware that, the pandemic has negatively affected all sectors of the world economy, which include: aviation; tourism; social security; as well as the labour market. Zambia is indeed no exception and we believe that the negative socio-economic impact being experienced the world-over.

  1. At country level, I am fully aware that the pandemic, as well as, the measures we have taken as a government, in our quest to save lives, have had a negative impact on the Socio-Economic environment.

  2. As a result, we have experienced reduced revenue, thereby, impacting negatively on the financing of national programmes. If the status quo remains, rest assured that the economy will plunge into the worst crisis our country has ever experienced. However, we must be mindful of the need to steadily progress into living in the “new normal” for the sake of our health and the health of our economy.

  1. This calls for us to review the measures with a view to cautiously and strategically begin to ease so that the various sectors of our economy can start operating within the context of the “new normal”.

Countrymen and women,

  1. I have seen it inevitable for restaurants to revert to their normal operations, on condition of adhering to the prescribed public health guidelines, regulations and certification.

  2. I further direct the reopening of cinemas, gymnasiums, and casinos in line with “the new normal”, while adhering to the prescribed public health guidelines, regulations and certification.

  1. As you are all aware, many businesses such as, hotels, lodges, tour operators, internet cafes, as well as, event management companies, were voluntarily closed as a result of the COVID-19, so as to protect themselves, their employees, as well as their clients.

  2. I, therefore, wish to appeal to the proprietors to consider the possibility of getting back to normal operations while observing public health guidelines, regulations and certification.

  3. Remember, all adjustments are subject to public health guidelines, regulations and certification such as wearing face masks; observing social distancing; hand washing and sanitising; and ensuring high levels of hygiene.

These measures will be for a period of seven to fourteen days and may be reviewed any time as the pandemic evolves.

Countrymen and women,

  1. In my previous address, I announced the creation of a COVID-19 economic recovery fund and directed the ministry of finance and other relevant ministries to consolidate resources to be disbursed to small and medium businesses, women groups, the youth and the most vulnerable that have been the hardest hit.

  1. So far, I am aware that the modalities of disbusrement of the ten billion Kwacha under the bank of Zambia have not been adequately communicated to the would be beneficiaries, such as schools, gymnasiums, nightclub owners, cinemas, restaurants, and bars. I am, therefore, directing the ministry of finance to ensure that the modalities are urgently communicated and the collateral demanded from the intended beneficiaries are realistic.

Countrymen and women,

  1. I am aware that if schools, colleges and universities remain closed, we shall have an education crisis as their calendars would be terribly affected.

Already our children are way behind since the schools were closed and that is an education crisis in the making.

  1. I am worried about our children who are tired and bored of staying at home all day, and we are seeing instances of juvenile delinquency increasing in some cases. I am further concerned that if the schools remained closed, there is a likelihood of an increase in the moral decay of our children and the youth as a result of them having more free time. An idle mind is the devil’s workshop, goes the old saying.

  1. As much as all classes are important for the education of our children, we must cautiously and strategically manage the reopening of the schools in light of COVID-19. It is for this reason that in the context of the ‘new normal’, I am directing that the first classes to reopen will be primary and secondary school examination classes on first june, 2020 on condition that schools enforce all public health guidelines, regulations and certification as stated earlier.

  1. I further direct the ministry of health and the disaster management and mitigation unit to ensure that face masks, hand washing soaps and sanitisers are prioritised and provided to all schools and health centres for distribution and use by our children, starting with those in examination classes.

  2. In addition, I direct the ministers of general education, and higher education to engage and consult various stakeholders on the possibility and modalities of reopening non-examination classes, colleges and universities in the near future.

Countrymen and women,

  1. I must remind everyone that the battle against COVID-19 is still with us and not yet won. As we fight COVID-19, my government will ensure resilience and balance in our health systems and continued provision of all healthcare services to our citizens.

  2. I want to assure you that as we fight COVID-19, we will continue to invest in maternal, child health, nutrition, the fight against hiv/aids, tuberculosis, other communicable and non-communicable diseases.

  3. As head of state, I will keep observing the situation as it unfolds and provide necessary guidance.

  1. This pandemic provides an opportunity to start our socio and economic recovery trajectory towards making it more resilient as we live with the “new normal” and strengthen the provisions of essential services for our people.

  2. For the most vulnerable communities, I urge the relevant authorities to ensure uninterrupted supplies of essential goods and services through the provision of relief, both food and non-food items.

  3. Meanwhile, I wish to reiterate the measures that I have consistently stated to the nation, of ensuring social distancing, washing of hands, and hand sanitising, wearing of face masks, and generally maintaining high levels of hygiene.

  1. Let us remember to be our brothers and sisters keepers in ensuring we make this “new normal” easier to live with. Let us avoid unnecessary movements to curb the spread of the disease.

  2. In conclusion, let me start by thanking all front line workers who are indeed our heroes and heroines in this fight against COVID-19. In this regard, I reiterate my earlier directive to the minister of health to ensure necessary occupational health and safety measures are strengthened to protect our healthcare workers from acquiring COVID-19 and other infections in healthcare settings.

  1. Let me thank all cooperating partners and civil society organisations, who have generously donated and supported my government in the fight against the deadly coronavirus disease. Let me also thank the private sector, individuals and the media who have joined in supporting the people of Zambia in the fight against COVID-19.

  1. Let me take this opportunity to urge provincial ministers to continue providing leadership and oversight in coordinating multisectoral stakeholders in their respective jurisdictions and ensure enforcement of the COVID-19 public health measures as stipulated in statutory instruments number 21 and 22 of 2020, as well as the additional directives I announced during my last national address.

  2. I further direct the ministry of health to work closely with the ministries of commerce, trade and industry; transport and communications; local government;

And home affairs to ensure adherence to the already provided for interventions to prevent transmission of COVID-19 while allowing economic activity, and movement of essential goods and services as well as continuation of trade and industry.

  1. Our present situation also presents an opportunity for more citizens to become self-reliant and venture into non-traditional, but lucrative sectors of our economy such as agriculture, aquaculture, forestry and ict industries, among others. These are unusual times and they call for collective innovative and unprecedented approaches.

My government will, therefore, ensure that we strike a delicate strategic balance between the health of our citizens and promoting economic activity. Together, we can defeat COVID-19 and return to normalcy.

  1. I wish to emphasise that the ‘new normal’ is here, the ‘new normal’ means living with COVID-19 while observing public health guidelines and regulations. And the ‘new normal’ means social distancing, always wearing face masks in public places, washing of hands regularly and sanitising.

  1. Above all, let us continue to seek the face of God, particularly during this time of COVID-19.

May the almighty God bless you all.

I thank you.


  1. “There is an inverse relationship between the level of hygiene and the incidence of allergies and autoimmune diseases,” says Dr. Delespesse. “The more sterile the environment a child lives in, the higher the risk he or she will develop allergies or an immune problem in their lifetime.”


  2. But where is SADC in all this? Each country is doing it’s own thing. No coordination whatsoever. Not even video conferencing by our leaders. Is SADC just there to legitimize rigged elections by declaring them ” free and fair” despite violence, sitting governments impunity in use of state resources for campaigns, corruption & bribery, clamping down of opposition and independent media etc. Dissolve SADC. It’s a waste of resources of this collection of states with some of the poorest economies in the world.

  3. Country men and women Adapt to the “new Normal”. it remind me of the New deal govt under the leadership of the late LPM mhsrip.

    • How does living with a virus become normal? Who wants a on and off life forever, absolutely no one, let’s get rid of this disease now, which employer wants to have a workforce that will be prone to quarantine situations from time to time.

  4. Who ever advises this dull toothy chap needs a hard slap, how do you open casinos and gyms? Who is going to be cleaning sweat every-time a machine is used and a casino is practically a bar…he wants his investments to start operating in Chawama.

  5. Aristotle – You have low cases because you have a youthful population. Its that simple…only you and Nenah Cherry is scratching their heads when not a single nursing home exists in Lusaka for elderly.

    • Cheshire homes is in Lusaka, there is another old peoples village in lufunsa district called Mulele.

  6. The gradual opening of schools as directed is very good . Because our schools classroom space cannot accomodate The Social distancing new normal of our over crowded classes in some schools If we allowed all learners back to school .
    As for the non-examination classes , opening should be considered Only when infections are under control or near zero. For now our infection numbers are growing and we are yet to hit our peak.

  7. Whatever wrote this speech is improving at copying from CNN. But stop that nonsense of “country men and women “, that’s fvcking boring.
    I am not gonna read t the that nonsense.

  8. God damn, Chagwa does not look healthy at all, this man is clearly sick. This is another state funeral in waiting, soon. Just look at his swollen face, kansi chamene chimuvuta Chagwa nichani? Chagwa azagwa zesmanjemanje! I hear grave diggers were seen at Embassy Park preparing a whole in the ground already.

  9. Aristotle – Cheshire homes is for children and people with disabilities…how many elderlies are there? Can you compare that to pensioners in Spain or US? Sometimes it’s best to keep quiet

    • You have missed nyner cherry and his boss. Am sure he is still looking for that mask that disappeared during the address.

  10. Everything kukopela USA….so if America anounces complete lockdown tomorrow Lungu will follow through again without checking if its necessary..President with no mind of his own

  11. “…If the status quo remains, rest assured that the economy will plunge into the worst crisis our country has ever experienced….”

    All world economies are affected yes , but Zambias economy under lungu was in trauma care well before C19.

    Most countries will go into recession but will climb out because of their economic foundamentals. They have strong manufacturing , not just shopping malls.

    Corrupt missmaneged economies will feel this for decades, Zambia is one Unfortunetly.

  12. Believe me or not Edgar Lungu is a dead man walking. I can see why the man is messing up. He is infact not in control of anything. I have realized that the man is unhealthy and some crooks are holding onto him to loot. Zambia is really a depressed nation and economically dysfunctional. Anyway Bally, being Bally i know will fix it. PF must go!

  13. PF must find a replacement sooner than later. I’m telling you the bitter truth the man is tired and unwell. See the face and you will realize that this man is trying hard to push himself but the body is speaking for itself. I’ve known most Zambian government officials from Mwanawasa’s time to Sata. We were once told that Mwanawasa was jogging in the streets of Paris yet the man was dead, by then it was defence minister who assured the nation. I know i may sound insensitive but this is sad reality of his health. We should accept that our bodies are bound to fail at a point in time no matter how healthy we eat or exercise. This my wise counsel without politicking.

  14. I understand schools but I think for bars gym, casinos, cinemas waiting until mid (3rd week), of July when the windy weather starts to turn into warm sunshine would have been better so as to avoid the cold flu season in June. June , July. August are USA/European holiday periods for Tourism. Zambia should seek the help of WHO and UN (oh no did say UN….), To do a thorough scientific study of our pattern of R rate infection. Something is not right, IS IT A CASE THAT OUR CASE IS MORE PERNICIOUS. It might be that our pattern of infections will be more hidden but gradual leading to a more difficult hospital/medical environment….hence bodies on the street if they can’t cope with a sudden rise in numbers. Infections will come from the entertainment zones, casinos,gyms et al. ZAMBIANS…


  16. Excellent speech by the president. Steering the nation in the right direction.showing strong direction and leadership. I am very exhausted preparing for this day. We have worked so hard all week with sleepless nights analysing so much data and advice from various specialists. Now time for me to unwind and take a sip of some red wine while listening to my favourite music. Kz

  17. Iwe KZ stop insulting well meaning citizens will not insulate you as public enemy of Zambia. You or impostor, Zambians will not forget that you have harassed, beaten, maimed, humiliated, kidnapped, fired guns and shot Zambians and dehumanise Zambians. Zambians deserve justice and time is coming to get it. Cleansing yourself on this site will not wash up, records, living witnesses exist and testimonies will be in your face.

  18. He went into State House shivering and it seems he will depart from there shivering. You see what a vanity life is?

  19. This is a good move. There is no scientific evidence to demonstratrs that covid 19 is deadly in Zambia , as it is in Italy or UK for example. Many factors at play, maybe something to do with the young Zambian population and also that Zambians have a stronger immunity due to the enviroment they are exposed in. In the first place the lockdown has made Zero difference if not more harm than good. It’s time Zambia begin to rely on it’s own scientists for scientific research and analysis than all the looking to the west. Those testing equipment are manufactured and supplied by whites, and the whole country doesn’t know weather they are reliable or not.France configured the gen- xpert machines to include covid-19 testing and as a country we can’t confirm its reliability but accept…

  20. I think we have low cases in Zambia because of Malaria and chloroquine effect on most of us some how i agree with Donald Trump on chloroquine as a cure for covid 19 so who ever is the scientist in Zambia should look into this factor in order to get a cure for this covid 19 i think at this time the President need help and encouragement not condemning him.

  21. When will Mr Clueless Edgar Lungu be voted out? Just fed up with an incompetent in that office.

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