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Government Imposes Week-long Curfew on Townships Hardest hit by Cholera

Kanyama Curfew

The Zambian government has declared a curfew in several Lusaka townships badly affected by the cholera outbreak that has killed 58 people across the country since September.

The Zambian government has declared a curfew in several Lusaka townships badly affected by the cholera outbreak that has killed 58 people across the country since September.

The high number of cholera deaths in Kanyama Township  prompted authorities to impose a seven-day curfew to help contain the epidemic.

The curfew in Kanyama and several other Townships in Lusaka began on Sunday and will run between 18:00 and 06:00 hours, Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya told reporters. Kanyama Township has a population of 370,000 people.

In a bid to contain the outbreak, the government banned street vending in severely affected areas and public gatherings in Lusaka City to prevent the spread of cholera.

The residents of Kanyama have reportedly defied this order in the evenings after soldiers deployed to clean the streets had left.

"Kanyama has recorded the highest number of fatalities because of the poor compliance with interventions that have been put in place," Chilufya said.

The cholera outbreak was initially linked to contaminated water from shallow wells, but investigations indicated that contaminated food was the main culprit.

The government last week shut three of South African retailer Shoprite's Hungry Lion fast-food restaurants after their food tested positive for the bacterium that causes cholera.

Hungry Lion said on Saturday that the restaurants had been closed for disinfection and it hoped that the government would soon allow them to reopen.

President Edgar Lungu last week directed the military to help to fight the spread of the water-borne disease.

The Ministry of Health announced yesterday that vaccination throughout the capital city will start on Wednesday, and would first be administered in cholera epicentres, Chipata and Kanyama townships.

Cholera causes acute watery diarrhoea. It can be treated with oral hydration solutions and antibiotics but spreads rapidly and can kill within hours if not treated.