By CLOZZEN BIKALE
First Quantum Minerals (FQM) is setting the pace for private sector initiatives to tackle Covid-19, backing Government calls for all citizens to be vaccinated.
The companies Kansanshi Mine in Solwezi and Sentinel Mine in Kalumbila have set up ground-breaking protocols aimed at encouraging all employees and contractors to be vaccinated, while also respecting everyone’s right to decide whether they get a vaccination or not. Those working in close proximity to others will also be required to be vaccinated.
As part of the move to improve vaccination rates further, only those who are vaccinated will be permitted access to company recreational facilities, in a move similar to the Covid-passes mandated by governments in many parts of the world.
Kansanshi Mining General Manager Anthony Mukutuma said their aim is to increase vaccine coverage of our workforce to mitigate the severity of illness during this fourth wave, so as not to overwhelm the medical facilities in the area.
Mr Mukutuma said that unvaccinated employees and contractors will still be able to access the mine facilities and to work; the only requirement will be to present a negative PCR result every time they are away from site for more than 72 hours.
“The approach is in line with Government’s efforts to stem the tide of Covid-19 and its most recent Omicron variant, with strong calls for citizens to get vaccinated,” he said.
Health Minister Sylvia Masebo said in her most recent statement on the pandemic, said President Hichilema remains resolute to fight the Covid-19 in order to preserve the lives and livelihoods of all Zambians.
“The Covid-19 pandemic remains of great concern across the globe, the Government has made this commitment is at the highest level of government, as demonstrated by the establishment of the office of the Presidential Advisor on Covid-19,” she said.
Kalumbila Minerals General manager Sean Egner said that globally, there is evidence that the death rates are way down in countries with high vaccination rates.
Mr Egner said The World Health Organization (WHO) statistics show a drastic reduction in death rate, particularly when the population is around 80 percent vaccinated.
He said the company’s target is to achieve 80 percent or better.