#TourismRestart: Zambia releases Guidelines to be observed at Ports of Entry

Following the announcement by President Edgar Lungu of Zambia on the reopening of the country’s air border in July 2020, the department of immigration, the Zambia Tourism Agency, and the Airport Corporation have released a set of guidelines to be observed by travellers to the Southern African country.

As Zambia begins to ease restrictions on international travel, a number of measures have been put in place to safeguard travellers in the new normal.

According to the communique, the guideline serves to inform international travellers to Zambia of the safety measures that they will be required to observe on arrival and during their stay in the country. These guidelines have been developed in consultation with the Zambia Ministry of Health’’ the statement said.

The guide which is centered on four thematic areas, visas, arrival procedures at the airports, standard operations procedures, and Airport Preventive measures gives vivid detail on actions and responses expected by travelers and authorities at each point in time.

‘’Business travellers coming for confirmed business into the country with a negative SARS CoV2 PCR test, conducted within the previous 14 days, are free to conduct their business as planned while adhering to recommended COVID 19 prevention measures such as maintaining physical distance, masking and personal hygiene''

The measures are as follows: -

1) Visas
It should be noted that these guidelines do not negate, in any way, from the current visa regime.

a) Business travellers coming for confirmed business
Business travellers coming for confirmed business into the country with a negative SARS CoV2 PCR test, conducted within the previous 14 days, are free to conduct their business as planned while adhering to recommended COVID 19 prevention measures such as maintaining physical distance, masking and personal hygiene. They shall monitor themselves daily for 14 days for the development of COVID 19 symptoms and report any occurrence to the nearest health facility.

Business travellers coming into the country without evidence of a negative SARS CoV2 PCR test conducted within the previous 14 days, will not be allowed into the country.

b) Tourists
Tourists and any persons visiting friends and/or relatives in Zambia coming into the country, other than a business visitor with a negative SARS CoV2 PCR test conducted within the previous 14 days, are free to visit as planned while adhering to recommended COVID 19 prevention measures such as maintaining physical distance, masking and personal hygiene. They shall monitor themselves daily for 14 days for the development of COVID 19 symptoms and report any occurrence to the nearest health facility.

1 Tourists and any person visiting friends and/or relatives in Zambia coming into the country without evidence of a negative SARS CoV2 PCR test conducted within the previous 14 days, will not be allowed into the county.

c) Students
Students both new and returning, where it is proved that the educational institution is operating, are allowed to return to Zambia on condition that they produce a negative SARS CoV2 PCR test conducted within the previous 14 days. However, they will still need to monitor themselves for the next 14 days in case they contracted the disease after the test.

d) Returning Citizens and Residents without symptoms
All Zambian Nationals and returning Residents who do not have symptoms will observe mandatory 14-day quarantine at home. Homes will be inspected beforehand to ensure the suitability of facility/environment for home quarantine, contrary to which affected individuals will be quarantined in designated facilities. They shall monitor themselves daily for development of COVID-19 symptoms and report any such signs to the nearest health authority. This also covers those holding certificate of status as established residents, investor's, employment, and spouse permit holders.

2) Arrival procedures at the Airports

a) Traveller Health Questionnaires will be provided to all airlines entering Zambia. The questionnaires will be provided on-board for passengers to pre-fill before disembarkation, and to be surrendered to health staff on the ground at the airport.

b) Symptomatic travellers with body temperatures equal to or above 38°C will be tested for SARS Cov-2 at the airport. In addition to this temperature level, if a traveller is coughing, has shortness of breath, difficulty in breathing, sore throat and headache — they will be quarantined in specific institutions designated by the Ministry of Health until their results are ready.

c) Travellers who test positive will be managed according to the National Case Management Guidelines.

d) Travellers without fever but with other symptoms will be assessed to determine the need for testing.

e) Random testing for quality assurance purposes will be conducted randomly on selected passengers presenting negative results.

3) Standard Operations Procedures (Safety Guidelines for the tourism
industry)

To ensure a safe experience for the tourists, safety operation guidelines have been put in place by the tourism sector. Tourists will be expected to wear masks and observe the globally accepted 1-metre physical distancing. A detailed document with the guidelines is available through www.zambia.travel.

4) Airport Preventive Measures
Deliberate policies and strategies have been developed to help combat the spread of the Novel Coronavirus and to keep travellers safe while in the airport terminals. This includes training staff in Infection Prevention and Control (IPC), increasing hygiene levels around the airport and ensuring passengers are screened, among other actions.
Other measures include:

a) Strengthening of infection prevention and control measures including Personal
Protective Equipment (PPE) for airport staff such as face masks, gloves, face shields, and hand hygiene supplies.
b) Displaying of physical distancing signage in all appropriate places and mandatory wearing of face masks for all.
c) Regular awareness and sensitisation on COVID-19 for airport staff.
d) The positioning of a health desk strategically placed to assist health practitioners in detecting and dealing with COVID-19 related cases more efficiently and timely.
e) Allocation of separate bins for the disposal of medical waste.
f) International and Domestic arrival/departure screening through the use of thermal scanners, physical/visual observation and other requirements as stipulated by the Ministry of Health.
g) A ban on passenger facilitation services.
h) Restriction of access to the terminal building to employees and passengers only.
i) Continuous and regular disinfection of common contact surfaces.
j) Encouraging passengers to use self-check-in platforms so as to minimize contact/interaction with airport staff.
k) Cleaning and disinfection of apron equipment before and after flights.

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