The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services in conjunction with the Ministry of Local Government and the Lusaka Provincial administration have launched the red alert campaign with a view to emphasize on social distancing among citizens, amidst the COVID-19 outbreak.
Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services Dora Siliya notes that the red alert campaign consists of information of one metre distancing, targeted at various audiences.
ZANIS reports that Ms Siliya stressed on the importance for behavioral change among Zambians if the Coronavirus is to be contained.
She stated that in as much as essential workers and other groups have been advised to stay home, there are some parts of society that depend on small scale business for survival, hence the move to introduce the red alert campaign.
“The Coronavirus is here and it is important that we have targeted messaging for targeted audiences and places.
Today we are launching the ‘social distancing campaign’ the ‘one metre campaign’, and it is important that all the 17 million Zambians get to understand the importance of social distancing,” Ms. Siliya stressed.
The Minister is concerned that even after President Edgar Lungu announced some measures, some members of the general public especially in high density areas and public places were not adhering to the guidelines.
She has therefore, hailed the Muslim and the Indian Community in Zambia for supporting her ministry with 1 000 000 posters in various local languages to be distributed across the country.
Ms Siliya disclosed that 100 000 posters in English and Nyanja will be printed for Lusaka as it is the epic centre of the Coronavirus, while the rest will be distributed to other parts of the country.
She noted that the move by the Muslim and the Indian Community has to be emulated by other stakeholders as the virus does not choose who to attack.
Meanwhile, Minister of Local Government Charles Banda emphasized that the fight against COVID-19 should be tackled in a multi sectoral approach.
Dr Banda noted that the measures being implemented may hinder certain activities in society, but were aimed at saving lives.
He urged the public not to question several measures and guidelines being implemented by government, stating that situations are being managed steadily .
“This time calls for a change in the way we do things, we need to incorporate activities that will help us to ensure that we stay safe and protected.
This may entail in other cases taking very drastic measures which may look like one does not mind about the impact on the people, in the actual sense what we want is to save and protect our people,” Dr Banda stated.
He warned those abetting the wrongs to do things in an acceptable manner to avoid contracting the disease, disclosing that street vending was still prohibited unless in designated places by the Lusaka City Council.
And Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo said Lusaka being declared the epic-centre was disturbing, hence compliance among residents was inevitable.
Mr Lusambo retaliated that people should avoid unnecessary movements to and outside Lusaka, so that the pandemic can be contained.
“We want to try by all means to ensure that we come to zero cases here in Lusaka by working with other ministries,” Mr Lusambo added.
He called for the business community to come on board and assist government in fighting the Coronavirus.
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Amos Malupenga disclosed that his ministry through the Zambia News and Information Services (ZANIS) is playing its role of taking information on the pandemic closer to the residents.
Mr Malupenga stated that ZANIS is doted in all districts of the country and has embarked on public announcements especially in peri urban areas, sensitizing the public on the pandemic and guidelines as stated by government through the ministry of health.
He appealed for support from stakeholders, saying that the ministry was handicapped in terms of fuel and vehicles to be utilized in all the seven constituencies of Lusaka.
However,the ministry has engaged artists like dandy crazy who have come up with sensitization messages through songs to attract every sphere of citizenry.
There was a sense of urgency from the ministers during the launch to get the message out to the public to enhance behavioral change among citizens towards the pandemic.
Africa and Zambia in particular has not been spared by the COVID-19,the reason government has announced the COVID-19 response plan measures aimed at combating the virus.