Oxfam advises govt to prepare for COVID-19 case overload

OXFAM has proposed the removal of import duty on essential products that are helping fight the Coronavirus.

Oxfam is a confederation of 19 independent charitable organisations focusing on the alleviation of global poverty.

Founded in 1942 and led by Oxfam International, it is a major nonprofit group with an extensive operations.

In an advisory note on effectively fighting coronavirus to save lives of Zambians addressed to the ministers of Commerce and Finance, Oxfam advised the government to look at future solutions on the coronavirus effects.
It suggested that the government considers immediate removal of import duties on essential goods needed in addressing the pandemic.

“These include sanitisers, protective clothing and items and chemicals required in the manufacture of disinfectants but ensure that there are measure[s] in place that will regulate this and curtail any abuses of this nature,” the document reads in part.

Oxfam stated that the aftermath of coronavirus would put an additional strain on an already troubled fiscus in Zambia.

It stated that in an event that the government seeks stimulus packages, it should be made in a manner that does not increase the government’s current level of indebtedness. “Therefore, at global level, Oxfam has joined the call to multilateral lending institutions to provide emergency additional finance which does not create debt. Oxfam commends government for initiating the debt repayment negotiations. The intent must be to repurpose money to the response,” Oxfam stated.

It further advised the government to prepare for an overload of critical and severe cases of the COVID-19.
“Oxfam recognises the efforts this far that government and other non-state actors have put in to curb the spread and manage cases of coronavirus. We also welcome assurance on readiness to test, isolate and manage cases. However, in addition to intensifying and more aggressively conducting contact tracing, isolating and managing mild cases, preparedness for handling an overload of critical and severe cases in an event of peak infection rates is vital,” stated Oxfam.

“Consideration should also be made to restrict human traffic in and out of Lusaka which is currently the epicentre of the coronavirus disease. This may minimise the spread of the virus to other parts of the country where the health care capacity is even lower and managing social dimensions of the pandemic even more difficult. We thus urge government, development partners, non-state actors to support hospitals and public health service providers to increase capacity for provision on essential critical care to high risk patients.”

For the fifth day on Wednesday, the government announced that the country had not recorded any COVID-19 positive cases while the number of those discharged rose to seven.

The country recorded 39 cases of COVID-19 mainly involving individuals that had travelled out of the country to France, Pakistan, among others.

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