Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo yesterday morning distributed masks and sensitizing motorists and some Lusaka residents on the importance of adhering to Covid-19 health guidelines.
Mr. Lusambo has since directed that he will tomorrow start taking stringent measures against those that will not comply with the Statutory Instruments (SIs) on Covid-19.
The Minister, who led members of the multi-sectoral Covid-19 taskforce on an inspection of compliance to health regulation among motorists and other road users at Arcades Flyover Bridge, Heroes stadium bus stop, and shop owners at Manda Hill shopping mall, observed that there is complacency among residents despite the increasing cases of the disease in the province.
He noted that Zambia is recording an increase in the number of new cases and deaths hence warned that the situation may get to unmanageable levels if people continue with the status quo.
“The Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) is filled to capacity and the number of new cases is increasing, this poses a serious threat,” he said.
Mr. Lusambo told bus drivers not to carry passengers who are not masked up and warned that all travellers who do not wear masks on public buses will not be allowed in and out of Lusaka starting Wednesday this week as the taskforce starts to enforce the SI.
“Buses that carry passengers who do not wear masks will not be allowed to enter or leave bus stations. The drivers should ensure that all their passengers are masked up,” he said.
And Mr. Lusambo has warned bar owners who operate beyond prescribed operating hours that they will be dealt with.
“We will start inspecting all places especially the bars and nightclubs that are on record to be hotspots for transmission of the disease, the owners are not complying with the law with regard to the times of opening and closing, the masking of revellers and the observation of a one metre physical distance as provided by law,” he noted.
The Lusaka Province Minister however commended shops at Manda Hill shopping mall where shoppers are not allowed to enter shops if they are not complying with the health regulations.
He observed that only those with masks are allowed to enter the shops.
“People here are all masked up, they realise the seriousness of the disease and that the new variant is more deadly,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lusaka deputy mayor Christopher Shakafuswa said Lusaka City Council (LCC) observed that people in the city have adequate information about Covid-19 but do not mask up.
“Many people put the masks in their handbags and pockets and only wear them when getting into shops. We need people to realise that masking up is intended to prevent the disease and not to show those enforcing the law,” he said.
Mr. Shakafuswa said the council will enhance inspection of public places to ensure adherence to public health regulations.