How sex workers in Zambia helped contact-trace coronavirus carriers

WION Web Team
New Delhi, IndiaEdited By: Bharat SharmaUpdated: May 11, 2020, 12:00 PM IST


Story highlights

The border town of Nakonde recently witnessed a spike in the number of infections

As coronavirus cases across major hotspots in Europe and North America continue to drop, the fear of new hotspots still remains.

Many believe that the next killer wave could start anywhere in Africa or South Asia.

Recently, sex workers in Zambia garnered attention for assisting authorities in contact tracing of coronavirus carriers.

The border town of Nakonde recently witnessed a spike in the number of infections.

The BBC reported that over 76 out of the 85 newly reported cases can be traced to sex workers or lorry drivers.

An official told BBC that sex workers have displayed cooperation and providing the government all the information.

"Sex workers have been very co-operative”.

Cooperative effort

A month-long lockdown ended last week as restaurants and gyms reopened. The shutdown lasted for over a month to ensure social distancing.

Currently, Zambia has over 267 confirmed cases of coronavirus, which has also led to seven deaths.

The President, Edgar Lungu has expressed concerns over the potential spread and has ordered the border to be “temporarily closed”.

Usually, Nakonde is flooded with people and lorries coming in and out of Tanzania. It is very common for lorry drivers to have several sex partners, which makes them more susceptible to catching coronavirus.

The official further claimed that "we don't want to stigmatise or discriminate against them [sex workers]. They are being very useful in contact tracing”.

Turns out, the authorities were able to trace a cluster of infections with the help of a sex worker. The worker showed symptoms and then linked up the government with the potential infector, who was then found to have been carrying COVID-19.

Many authorities across Africa have warned of lorry drivers transporting the virus from place to place.