By BRIAN HATYOKA
THE Government has clarified that it has not imposed a travel ban for people coming from countries affected by the Ebola pandemic but has merely issued a travel advisory note as a precautionary measure.
Meanwhile, some delegates coming from Ebola-affected countries, who arrived in Livingstone last week for this week’s 32nd annual Association for Education Assessment in Africa (AEAA) conference being hosted by the Examinations Council of Zambia (ECZ), were on Friday
turned away at a named hotel in the tourist capital.
Health Minister Joseph Kasonde said the Government had issued a travel advisory note and not a ban for people wishing to visit Zambia from Ebola-affected countries, namely, Guinea, Liberia, Serra Leone and Nigeria.
Dr Kasonde said under the travel advisory, all people coming from these countries were discouraged from visiting Zambia or they would undergo intensive screening and testing processes if they visited the country.
The minister was speaking on Saturday afternoon in Livingstone when he addressed officials at Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport.
Earlier, Dr Kasonde commissioned a computerised Tomography (CT scan) scan and officially opened the refurbished skills laboratory, psychiatric ward and classrooms at Livingstone General Hospital.
Dr Kasonde also said it was not wise for Zambians to travel to Ebola-affected countries as they might bring the disease to the country.
He warned that Zambians who would insist on travelling to affected countries would also undergo intensive screening and testing when they arrived back to the country.
“The word ban has been used and it has caused alarm. I am medical personnel and I don’t give a ban to anyone but I give a travel advisory, Dr Kasonde said.
Dr Kasonde assured hoteliers and members of the public that all delegates coming to Zambia would be screened at the points of entry.
“Someone phoned me recently that there were Nigerians at the commercial show in Lusaka. It is not an issue of which country someone comes from but it is an issue of where someone came from before coming to Zambia.
In a related development, some delegates from Ebola-affected countries, who arrived in Livingstone, last week for this week’s 32nd annual conference of the AEAA were on Friday turned away at a named hotel in Livingstone.
Dr Kasonde said he would meet his fellow Cabinet ministers on Monday to chart the way forward on delegates who arrived in Livingstone before the travel advisory note on Ebola was issued.
Meanwhile, the ECZ has assured Zambians that delegates coming to Livingstone from West Africa to attend the ongoing 32nd annual conference of the AEAA would be heavily screened against the Ebola virus to protect the tourist capital.
ECZ principal examinations officer – processing and certification chairperson Albert Siamunako said delegates from West Africa would be screened both at Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport and Zambezi Sun Hotel to safeguard the country against the disease.
Mr Siamunako said a clinic would be set up at Zambezi Sun Hotel, which is a meeting place for the conference, where delegates would be screened daily.
He was addressing the media in Livingstone at Zambezi Sun Hotel yesterday ahead of the AEAA conference which begins today up to August 15, 2014.
“Out of more than 360 delegates we are expecting for this conference, more than 100 will come from West Africa and a number of them will be accommodated across lodges and hotels in Livingstone.
He also admitted that the first five delegates from Sierra Leon in West Africa were turned away at Fairmount Hotel in Livingstone on Friday despite being screened at Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula International Airport upon their arrival.
Times of Zambia