Zambia To Stop Issuance Of Passports As Cholera Infections, Deaths Rise
The Zambian government continues to find ways to contain the spreading cholera outbreak that has hit the southern African country since October 2017.
A local media portal reports that the number of infected persons and deaths continue to rise. According to Mwebantu, over 120 infections were recorded in 24 hours – between January 8 and January 9.
The new cases it added are largely in the capital Lusaka where 114 incidents were recorded with 3 deaths. 19 other cases were recorded in other areas, bringing the total number on infections to 2,802 with 65 deaths so far.
Meanwhile, the government is set to announce a directive to halt the issuance of national identification documents like passports, birth certificates etc. The move is believed to be part of efforts to restrict public gatherings as the crisis bites.
Over the weekend, a number of churches announced cancellation of all services especially in Lusaka. The Reformed Church in Zambia and the Bread of Life Church International were two of such churches.
The education sector was the first to be hit as the 2018 school calendar was postponed indefinitely in order to curtail the incidence of the disease spreading.
According to a joint statement issued last week by Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya and his education counterpart Dennis Wanchinga, the re-opening of schools countrywide has been deferred until further notice.
“We have had an outbreak of cholera from October 6, 2017 and it has affected mainly Lusaka Province and we have recorded sporadic cases in various parts of the country,” Dr Chilufya said.
President Edgar Lungu had tasked the army to move in to help arrest the situation. He said the Zambia Defence Forces were to work with relevant ministries and agencies in the cholera combat. The spread has since been steadily rising.