Johannesburg - The Zambian government has said the country will not go on lockdown in the face of the coronavirus, because people would not survive, according to the publication Zambia Reports.
Chief government spokesperson Dora Siliya said the government was in discussions with the private sector to consider waiving rentals from businesses that have had to close down during the Covid-19 outbreak.
The government was looking at ways in which it might mitigate property owners' losses.
Last week, Zambia's former finance minister Ng'andu Magande said Zambia should implement a lockdown as quickly as possible to prevent loss of life.
However, Siliya said the government was being realistic in not instituting a total lockdown, saying doing so was not feasible because some families were surviving from hand to mouth.
"A lockdown involved an extreme shutdown where we say a curfew is imposed and no citizen would be expected to leave their homes. This also means that shops and other facilities will have to close, except hospitals and the police stations," said Siliya.
She said doctors had advised that a reasonable shutdown required a minimum of 14 days, but for it to be effective, 30 days were needed.
Siliya wondered whether such a scenario would suit many Zambians who buy commodities such as mealie meal almost daily to survive.
She said the Zambian government had therefore opted for only appealing to people to stay home while a few facilities were closed to contain the outbreak.
The executive director of Zambia's Institute of Management, Francis Ziba, told News Diggers last week that it would be premature to shut Zambia down.
He said the best the country could do at the moment was to adhere to measures put in place by the government to try and curb the spread of Covid-19.