Revised Guidelines for Entry into Zambia

by Janine Avery May 24, 2021

Zambia is currently coming to the end of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic with a significant reduction observed in the number of daily new cases, test positivity rate and admissions to the hospitals. However, it's important to state that even though the situation has improved, patients requiring oxygen remain around 70% of those in admission.

The COVID 19 pandemic continues to ravage many parts of the world notably in Asia, North America, South America and parts of Europe. Unrestricted travel between Zambia and countries with active outbreaks remains a high risk factor for importation of COVID- 19 into the country.

The emergence of the SARS COV2 variants of concern globally poses an even higher risk of rapid spread and severe disease as observed in other countries.
The following guidelines shall apply:

1. Point of Entry screening
• Port Health officers to conduct general observation of passengers to detect those with signs of illness.
• Port Health Officers to collect and review health declaration forms, noting country of origin
• Port Health Officers to review the SARS-CoV-2 negative certificates being presented by travelers to determine authenticity and validity.

All passengers to undergo thermo-scanning and temperature to be indicated on health declaration forms.

2. SARS COV2 test requirements at Points of Entry (PoE)
a. All travelers entering Zambia must produce evidence of a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)-based SARS-CoV-2 negative test conducted within 72 hours prior to departure from the country of origin

b. All travelers from countries that are deemed to be at high risk of COVID 19 by the Ministry of Health / Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI) will be subjected to SARS COV2 testing at the Points of Entry even if they have a negative PCR test certificate. Specimens will be collected on arrival or within 48hours of entry into the country.

c. Testing at the Points of entry will be conducted at the travelers cost.

d. Travelers presenting at the PoEs with symptoms and signs suggestive of COVID-19 shall be re-tested and quarantined in designated facilities until results are available to inform decision making.

e. All positive COVID 19 tests identified from specimens collected at Points of Entry or collected from persons within 48 hours of arrival in Zambia will be subjected to genomic sequencing.

3. Quarantine

a. Mandatory self - isolation will be instituted for all travelers from countries classified as" High risk” irrespective of SARS COV2 PCR negative results. The list of "High Risk" countries will be updated from time to time depending on the Global evolution of the Pandemic.

b. All travelers from "High Risk" countries will be required to undergo mandatory self-quarantine for fourteen days at home subject to certification. Where the home environment is deemed unsuitable, self-quarantine will take place in a designated institution at the traveler's cost. All persons under self-isolation are expected to be compliant and will be monitored on a daily basis by health care workers, physically or remotely.

c. The revised guidelines will be shared widely both locally and abroad and will be implemented in a multi-sectoral manner.

d. All Points of Entry including international airports and ground crossings will adhere to these guidelines.

4. Vaccination

a. Although COVID-19 vaccination is not a pre-requisite for entry into the country, all travelers entering the country will be asked for their COVID-19 vaccination status

b. Travelers who have complete documentation of full vaccination with the recommended number of doses for each specific vaccine will be exempted from quarantine if they have evidence of a negative SARS COV2 certificate. They will continue to observe masking, social distancing, hand hygiene, avoid crowded places and promptly seek medical attention when ill.

Janine Avery
Janine Avery


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