ZIMBABWE and Namibia declared national emergencies on Tuesday as the coronavirus begins to spread in the region.
While southern Africa has had relatively few confirmed cases of Covid-19, governments fear the effect of its spread could overwhelm health systems. South Africa has declared a disaster and implemented strict measures including travel bans and school closures after infections increased to more than 60.
“The pandemic has reached our region and we have to escalate our response,” Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa (pictured) said in a speech in Harare, the capital.
Screening of travelers will be intensified and some borders will be closed, he said.
Namibia has closed schools for 30 days and banned all mass gatherings, while Zambia imposed restrictions on all foreign travel by nationals and advised people who returned from abroad to self-quarantine.
Zimbabwe and Zambia haven’t yet reported a case of the virus.