Namibia has banned the importation of all perishable food, fruits, unprocessed food and water from neighboring Zambia over a cholera outbreak that has killed more than 60 people with over 2,600 cases reported, local online website, New Era reports.
The ban came into effect on Monday and is aimed at containing the current outbreak in Zambia. The country recorded the first case of cholera last year September.
Recently, one case was reported in Livingstone, Zambia, about 200km from that country’s border with Namibia. This case seems to have played a part in the government banning the import of food from the neighboring country.
A case reported at the border between the two countries is believed to have prompted the ban.
Many Namibians in the eastern Zambezi Region buy – and in some cases smuggle – maize flour and fruits such as mangoes from Zambia, the report said.
Namibia’s health minister, Lempie Onesmus said that health officials are on alert and have taken precautionary measures, including screening people entering Namibia from Zambia.
“When a person arrives, the health officer uses an infrared thermometer to check the body temperature [of that visitor]. If the body temperature is too high, maybe 37 degrees, the device will ring as it has a programmed alarm. It also depends on what symptoms the person has. For instance, if that person has cholera, they will be vomiting and having diarrhea,” Onesmus said.
Zambia has also banned public gatherings in the areas affected so as to contain the outbreak.
Cholera is a bacterial disease causing severe diarrhea and dehydration, usually spread in water.