Namibia has banned the import of fresh produce from Zambia due to cholera.
The disease, which has claimed at least 60 lives from more than 2 000 cases reported, has resulted in markets being shut down in an effort to bring it under control.
According to the Namibia’s New Era, further measures to the ban that came into effect last week include screening people entering the country from Zambia.
“These measures will remain in place until such a time the situation in Zambia returns to normal,” said Lempie Onesmus, Namibian Health Officer.
Namibians in the eastern Zambezi region depend on imports of maize flour, vegetables and fruits from Zambia.
Zambian fresh producers were already reeling from losses arising from the outbreak of cholera that has hit the capital Lusaka and other parts of the country.
Stakeholders, including the Zambia National Farmers Union (ZNFU), fear the outbreak will cripple the economy due to closure of trading markets.
Authorities already had to shut down Soweto market, the biggest fresh produce outlet in Zambia, leaving farmers with tons of vegetables and fruits that went to waste.
The Zambia Association of Manufacturers (ZAM) chief executive officer Chipego Zulu said there as need to urgently facilitate safe trading places for business to avoid a standstill in economic activities.
Meanwhile, a mass vaccination, targeting 2 million people began in the capital Lusaka in efforts to halt the outbreak.
“This is an important exercise because it protects one against cholera in the next 3 years,” said Zambian Health Minister, Chitalu Chilufya.