TEDDY KUYELA, Lusaka
VICE-PRESIDENT Guy Scott has allayed fears of an outbreak of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) and has advised the nation not to panic.
Dr Scott said Government has dispatched a team of medical personnel to Choma to examine the body of a Zimbabwean truck driver who died of suspected Ebola in the cabin of his vehicle.
The body of China Maduma, 59, was discovered in the cabin of his copper-laden truck destined for South Africa from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Dr Scott said there is no need for the nation to panic because Government has stepped up surveillance controls at all major points of entry to detect any signs and symptoms of the EVD, which has claimed 4,447 lives in West Africa, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
He said this in Parliament yesterday in response to a question from Dundumwezi member of Parliament (MP) Edgar SingÃ³mbe (UPND), who wanted to know if Government has established the cause of the death of the Zimbabwean truck driver, who entered Zambia from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) through Kasumbalesa border in Chililabombwe.
This was during the Vice-Presidentâ€™s question time.
But Dr Scott said the surveillance control measures Government has come up with are ensuring that all people entering the country are screened for Ebola.
He said Government has trained health personnel at all major points of entry in response to either suspected or confirmed cases of Ebola.
Dr Scott, however, advised Zambians to be on high alert and report any cases of suspected Ebola to health authorities.
And CHOMBA MUSIKA reports from Choma that Southern Province deputy commissioner of police Milner Muyambango said yesterday that Mr Madumaâ€™s body, which is in Choma General Hospital, was first fumigated by health personnel before it was picked on Thursday night.
â€œHealth personnel also gave police officers some protective clothing before the body was taken to Choma General Hospital after 20:00 hours.
â€œThe man was discovered in the morning lifeless on the driverâ€™s seat in the truck which he parked in the garage where he made a stop over,â€ Mr Muyambango said.
He said Zimbabwean authorities have been informed about Mr Madumaâ€™s death and that the body was found in a sitting position.
And a Zambia Daily Mail crew that rushed to the scene around 16:00 hours found a team of medical personnel in protective clothing spraying inside the cabin and around the truck while other truck drivers watched in shock.
Southern Province medical officer Jelita Chinyonga said Mr Maduma did not have any symptoms of Ebola but that health authorities conducted Ebola prevention measures on the body, which was disinfected
Dr Chinyonga said investigations have revealed that Mr Maduma was suffering from ulcers.