As he outlines the devastating effects the disease has had on the tourism sector.
Smart Eagles Reporter.
President Edgar Lungu says the onset of the cold season will very likely cause a spike in the numbers of Covid 19 cases in the nation.
The Head of State has since reiterated the need for citizens to ensure they keep warm and avoid crowded places and unnecessary movements if they are to protect themselves from contracting the disease.
And President lungu has bemoaned the impact of Covid 19 on some sectors of the economy such as the tourism industry.
He said on tuesday, the 12th of May 2020, he had undertaken a fact finding mission to the tourist town of Livingstone to witness 1st hand, the impact of Covid 19 on tourism in the nation.
He said he was dismayed to find no tourists visiting the area owing to Covid 19, despite the Victoria falls having come back to life from the effects of climate change.
He said last year, the falls had dried and tourists couldn’t visit and that this time around, even though the falls was full, there were no tourists because of Covid 19.
He said the hospitality industry had also suffered as he found the many hotels he visited closed because of no customers causing many workers to be laid off from work.
“This scenario has made me realise how much we have lost in tourism revenue as well as how desperate our citizens are during this period. Similarly the situation for traders in Livingstone town is desperate. With stores and restaurants closed and the CBD largely deserted, ” he said.
“I stopped by in the town centre and I saw a young man running away from me because he thought my officers would arrest him for not wearing a mask. Ironically, he and his friends were selling merchandise including face masks. I called him back, bought a face mask from him and helped him to wear it. That young man was willing to sell face masks at the expense of protecting himself by wearing a face mask. How ironical, ” President Lungu said.
He said this was proof of the risk people have to live with everyday as they choose between life and livelihood in the Covid 19 era.
He said this prompted him to open the Victoria falls to tourists.
“Having appreciated the gravity of the situation we find ourselves in, I thought it prudent to reopen the Victoria falls which will ultimately allow lodges and hotels to equally reopen in order to increase economic activities in the tourist capital and allow our people to act out anything from the industry they have always survived on, ” he said.
And President Lungu has made a clarion call to proprietors of tourist sites, lodges and hotels countrywide to consider re-opening their businesses but was quick to remind them to observe health guidelines of hand washing, sanitizing, maintaining social distancing and masking up.
He expressed joy that since opening up the Victoria falls, the number of tourists visiting the site has started improving.