Lusaka – Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema has warned the citizenry not to relax and instead observe all health protocols as a fourth wave of the COVID-19 pandemic looms in the Southern African country.
He made the remarks this week as he announced the appointment of Dr Remi Chilengi, a former director at the Centre for Infectious Diseases Research Centre in Zambia, as his COVID-19 advisor.
President Hichilema noted that people were increasingly taking health protocols for granted at the tail-end of the third wave, and urged greater vigilance.
“… the fourth wave will catch us in a weaker position and we’ll lose a lot of lives and we do not wish to see that, so the presidency will provide leadership support to the advisor,” he said.
He said the success of Zambia’s 8th National Development Plan hinged on how well the country dealt with the pandemic.
“We need to be on top of things, it will be very difficult to achieve the agenda of reconstructing the economy, because COVID will stand in our way,” President Hichilema said.
The COVID-19 advisor will devise strategic interventions to combat the pandemic, and ensure the nation has accurate and relevant information regarding the coronavirus.
Dr Chilengi said, “The fourth wave may bring the country to a standstill so we have a lot to do to prevent it and we’ll do our best.”
The pandemic has claimed at least 3,636 Zambians since 2020 while the cumulative number of infections is above 208,000.
About 1.7 percent of the Zambian population has received one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.