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By Staffer-Rhodesia Times

ZMABIA'S Tourism Minister Ronald Chitotela says President Edgar Lungu has shown commitment in the quest to find solutions to the COVID-19 outbreak as he sometimes privately leaves State House to drive around the city in order to understand what’s going on.

Chitotela has wondered whether those calling for a lockdown think COVID-19 will magically end afterwards.

Meanwhile, Chitotela says Zambia will lose about US$420 million in revenue and about 300,000 jobs in the tourism sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic if the status quo remains the same by December, 2020.

Speaking on Hot FM’s breakfast show, Wednesday, Chitotela said President Lungu would not succumb to knee jerk reactions.

“I want to assure you that President Lungu is committed and more so, he is the President of Zambia, elected by the Zambia people. There is no President who would want the worst for his citizens, he is doing everything possible. I can tell you, sometimes he calls for a meeting at very awkward times; he phones people, he wants things done, he is monitoring. Sometimes he even gets out of State House privately driving around to observe what is happening in Lusaka; what is happening among the Zambian citizens so that when he is making a decision, these are decisions that are evidence based, not knee jerk decisions. The President will not succumb to knee jerk reactions; the President will make evidence based decisions, so that tomorrow we must be able to say thank you Mr President you have been able to take us through COVID-19. We shall tell this wonderful story to our grand children,” Chitotela said.

Chitotela added that government had learnt from other countries in the region that a complete lock down was not a solution in Africa.

“I have heard a number of statements where people both domestically and internationally called for a complete lock down of the economy. The challenge we may face is that there are people who are saying lock down for two weeks. after two weeks will COVID-19  end? Chitotela asked.

“In the case like Zambia, one week or one month and we have learnt a good example from our friends those who attempted to go that route of complete lockdown, South Africa is the best example, they tried and it became impossible! How do you lockdown somebody for two weeks or 21 days who lives in Tembisa in South Africa in a two roomed [house] with nine children? How do you lock down an economy in Zambia, for a Zambian who lives in our unplanned settlements with a two roomed and he has 11 children? We need also to understand what does a complete lock down mean?”

He insisted that a lockdown was not the solution.

“Our friends in Malawi tried; in South Africa they ended up saying we are allowing essential movements after it became impossible; because when you lockdown completely, when the people fall sick, how do they get to the hospital? My father used to say if you can’t think about your friends’ problems, then you are not worth living because if you say complete lockdown even for two weeks; If you can manage a bag of mealie meal even for two weeks, don’t think you neighbor can manage.

There are people in Zambia who depend on the daily bread; there are people who don’t even have the capital. If you go to the market you find people waking up in the morning from Chawama going to city market waiting for trucks from Chibombo with tomatoes and cabbages, get and sell for the farmer and make a profit,” Chitotela said.

“We know that COVID-19 is deadly and there are preventive measures that we have been advised of by the experts. We need then to apply them. We need to balance between health and economic activities of the nation. We need to learn from our friends in the region and globally who attempted to do that and whether it has succeeded or not. South Africa had a 100 percent lock down; today South Africa has the highest number of the COVID-19 patients on the African continent. Has the lockdown been the answer to the fight against COVID-19 in South Africa? The answer is no!”

Source: LT

With applications exceeding the fund's coffers, The Film and TV Charity has made an urgent appeal for more financial support, saying it can only "prioritize those in need" at the present.

The U.K.'s COVID-19 Film and TV Emergency Relief Fund, officially launched earlier this month by the British Film Institute and the Film and TV Charity, has now closed to applicants, with almost 3,000 people applying for more than £5 million ($6.2 million), exceeding its financial limitations.

The fund, which was launched with an initial $3 million pot to distribute to the creative industry  impacted by the crisis with grants of between $617 and $3,000 on offer,  opened applicants for two weeks- starting April 7, with the Film and TV Charity now processing the applications.

However, it has highlighted that due to the high demand it will need to "prioritize those most in need" without further financial support, and has launched an urgent appeal for more donations.

"Coronavirus is having a devastating impact on our industry. People are out of work and desperately worried about their future. The charity has been able to take urgent steps, but the number of applications and calls for help demonstrate the extraordinary need for financial support for freelancers," said Alex Pumfrey, CEO of The Film and TV Charity.

"We’re all part of a brilliant, successful and creative community that is now facing some of its toughest ever challenges. We’re hugely thankful to those who have already donated. We need to do more. We’re urging people to help us to re-open these funds and extend our services to reach more of the most vulnerable in our industry."

Since the start of the crisis, the charity has distributed $173,000 via their long-standing Hardship Fund to nearly 400 people with stop-gap grants of up to $617 to cover essential living costs such as food and bills. It has also seen a spike in demand for its mental health services, claiming that almost 1,800 people have contacted their support line over the past six weeks, five times higher than average.

Source.EIN 《》 RT

In a move to encourage local manufacturers to use locally sourced raw materials in order to support the growth of the economy, President Edgar Lungu toured Trade Kings production facility on Mumbwa Road.

During his tour on which he was accompanied by Minister of Commerce, Honourable Christopher Yaluma, President Lungu appreciated how some of Zambia’s most renowned brands are manufactured by Trade Kings Company.

He further encouraged consumers to buy locally produced products and get rid of the perception that imported goods are better than local goods.

President Lungu insisted that the trend of importing goods that can be locally manufactured should be discouraged.

Source: LT 《》 RT

Zambia's Minister of Labour Joyce Simukoko says the Ministry intends to draft a statutory instrument that will prescribe circumstances under which employers can be allowed to send workers on forced leave.

Mrs Simukoko says the ministry also plans to invoke section two of the employment code act to suspend some provisions which might include suspension of the requirement to give notice for redundancy.

She also said the invocation of section two of the Employment Code Act will suspend the requirement to pay redundancy benefit as lump sum and allow employers to come with a flexible payment plan.

Mrs Simukoko said this in at media briefing in Lusaka today.

She said this will be done once consultations are done through the Labour Consultative Council.

The Minister said Government is aware of the challenges that the COVID-19 have brought to various sectors and is monitoring the situation.

She however said the Ministry is extra vigilant to ensure that no employer abuses those provisions to victimize workers.

Mrs Simukoko further said there is no need for blame games on the enactment of Employment Code Act number three of 2019 because the Tripartite Consultative Labour Council was there during the consultation process.

She said it is unfortunate that some stakeholders have opted to go to the media to air their grievances on the bill when the actively participated in its enactment.

Mrs Simukoko further said those with concerns should dialogue with the Ministry over the matter.

Source: LT 《》 RT

The Football Association of Zambia has ccommissioned a survey for all clubs to assess the impact of the Covid -19 pandemic on their operations.

The FAZ league was suspended in mid-March due to the pandemic that has claimed three lives from 74 cases to date.

“The Football Association of Zambia (FAZ) Executive Committee has proposed a mitigation package for its member clubs arising from the impact of the Covid-19,” acting FAZ spokesperson, Sydney Mungala said in a statement.

“During an Executive Committee meeting this morning (Wednesday), FAZ has resolved that it will assess the impact of the Covid-19 on its members and see how they can mitigate the damage.

“Members will be expected to give FAZ details of the hardest hit aspects of their operations through a questionnaire that will be circulated,” he said.

Source: LT 《》 RT

Former Football Association of Malawi (FAM) vice president Steven Msambira has died.

A statement from FAM confirmed that Msambira died on Wednesday morning at the Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) in the capital Lilongwe.

“Football Association of Malawi and the Malawi football fraternity is in great grief following the death of its former 2nd Vice President Steven Msambira. Msambira died on Wednesday morning at Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe after a short illness,” reads part of the statement signed by FAM communications director, Gomezgani Zakazaka.

In his remarks, FAM president Walter Nyamilandu described Msambira’s death as a big blow to Malawian football.

“He was a very humble and hardworking gentleman. He was the first person to serve me as second vice president when I became FAM president back in 2004. I learnt a lot from him about FAM and football in general” said the FAM president.

“In this sorrowful time, we would like to extend to Msambira family our heartfelt condolences. On behalf of the members of the Malawi football community, I hope that, in some way, our words of support may help bring a little bit of peace and solace in this time of sadness. May the Lord be our comfort in this trying time,” he added.

Msambira was elected Chairman of the Central Region Football Committee in 1997 and automatically became a FAM Executive Committee member as per then FAM Statutes.

He was elected 2nd Vice President in 2004, a position he held up to 2007.

According to communication from FAM, burial for the late Msambira will take place on Thursday [today] April 23 2020 at his home village in Mitundu, Lilongwe.

Source: NT 《》 RT

A Malawian family grieving for their relative who has succumbed to  Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, has received heartfelt condolences from President Peter Mutharika.

The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported five new virus cases and also confirmed that one person had died of coronavirus.

In a statement released by presidential press secretary Mgeme Kalilani, President Mutharika expressed his profound grief.

“This death comes on a very sad day when Malawi has also registered 6 more active cases of coronavirus within 24 hours, raising the total of Coronavirus cases to 23,” Mutharika said in a statement made available to the media.

“The deceased was one of the 6 newly confirmed cases,” he added.

According to Joshua Malango, the Ministry of Health spokesperson, the deceased  had other underlying ailments.

In his statement, Mutharika said he  will keep the family in his heart and thoughts throughout their time of mourning.

Mutharika has since urged Malawians to show their self-discipline and quiet resolve during the coronavirus pandemic.

The President thanked the front-line health workers including doctors and nurses during this increasingly challenging time of the virus pandemic.

Mutharika appealed to Malawians to rise to the challenge of the coronavirus pandemic, maintain extreme social distancing and “take necessary precautions“ to prevent the spread of coronavirus and fight to save lives.

The Secretary for Health, Dan Namalika, warned Wednesday morning that the situation could be worsen if no bold decision is made to quickly stop the spread of the pandemic in the country.

“We are at war and the war continues, it’s up to us Malawians to choose life, we have the opportunity to control the disease,” he said.

Namarika cautioned that based on the Kuunika Modelling of the virus pandemic, out of the 17 million population, Lilongwe could be the hardest hit with 1.5 million Covi-19 patients expected and 5 000 deaths.

Malawi has a relatively small number of infections compared to other countries, but there are concerns a sudden surge in cases could lead to a major outbreak in the landlocked southern African poor nation.

Source: NT 《》 RT

HARARE – The government agreed with bakers, millers and other businesses on Wednesday to cut the prices of basic goods, including bread and sugar, to levels before Zimbabwe entered a coronavirus lockdown last month amid soaring inflation.

Annual inflation has hit 676.39 percent, one of the highest rates in the world, as a currency that was re-introduced last year weakens amid acute shortages of foreign currency, food and medicines.

Vice President Kembo Mohadi said the government had agreed with bakers, grain millers and edible oil and sugar producers, among others, that price increases seen in the last month were speculative and unjustified.

“The multi-sectoral stakeholders committed to a price moratorium to operate based on the prices which were applicable on March 25. The moratorium will also apply to value chain players. This was supported by a cabinet decision of April 21 and will take effect immediately,” Mohadi told reporters.

Zimbabweans’ plight has been compounded by a failure by the government to provide a stimulus package due to a tight budget and because the country cannot access loans from international lenders due to longstanding arrears.

The country first announced a 21-day lockdown on March 30 and extended it by another two weeks to May 3.

In a country where more than 80 percent of the working population work in the informal sector, the lockdown has left many families caught between staying at home and risking hunger, or venturing out on the streets to try to eke a living and risk contracting the coronavirus.

More than 2.54 million people have been reported to be infected by the coronavirus globally and 177,004 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

On Wednesday, Zimbabwe registered just its fourth confirmed death from the coronavirus. And only 29 people have been confirmed as testing positive.

Souce: ZimLive: Reuters: Rhodesia Times

Austrian based duo striker Patson Daka and midfielder Enock Mwepu resumed group training on tuesday morning with their Redbull Salzburg teammates at the Taxham training centre.

The Austrian Tipico Bundesliga has been on halt since early March due to the worldwide outbreak of the deadly Coronavirus pandemic.

For public health preservation purposes, the squad has been divided into four small groups of six players each with one goalkeeper in each group according to the club ’s official website .

Chipolopolo striker Patson Daka will train with Swiss goalkeeper Philipp Köhn , skipper Andre Ulmer , Max Wöber and the midfield duo of Hungarian sensation Dominik  Szoboszlai and former PSG midfielder Antoine Bernede .

"The Computer" Enock Mwepu will train alongside veteran goalkeeper Alexander Walke , defenders Patrick Farkas and Jerome Onguéné , Mërgim Berisha and star forward Hee - Chan Hwang.

In order to be as safe as possible , every person involved in the sessions ( players, coaches and support staff ) has already undergone coronavirus tests , which all came back negative .

Head coach Jesse Marsch is happy to return to training and wants to use whatever is available to prepare for the remainder of the season .

“ We are really pleased to be able to return to the pitch. Even if we can ’t train yet in the usual way, it is an important step . Our aim now is to get the most we can out of what is available for us and to give our all and to be ready for the next step. We are determined to finish the season , ” he said .

And Captain of the team Andre Ulmer is also pleased about getting back onto the training pitch and said:

"Training at home was a good and intensive. We can ’t wait to play football now , and we are pleased to be able to return to the training pitch. I am really looking forward to hitting my first passes and first crosses."

Salzburg is currently second on the log with 24 points after 22 games and are just three points shy of log leaders LASK Linz .

Source:Zamfoot 《》 Rhodesia Times

The Zimbabwean government has reduced the mandatory quarantine period for possible coronavirus cases from 21 days to 7 days.

Health and Child Care Minister Obadiah Moyo said that Zimbabwe does not have the resources to continue following the two-week quarantine period (stipulated by WHO) for people entering the country.

Speaking at a news conference streamed on social media, Moyo revealed that  Cabinet has decided to reduce the quarantine period to seven days. He also said:

"And if the quarantined are found to be positive they will be sent to an isolation centre. And if they are found to be negative they will be released. It decongests the facilities."

The government claims to have so far spent about 125 000 U.S. dollars on food and basic needs of 950 returning residents in COVID-19 quarantine centres.

Officials said the figure does not include the cost of accommodation.

Source: Pindula News: Rhodesia Times
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