The Covid -19 disease was first identified in 2019 in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei, China, and quickly spread globally resulting in a pandemic.
Common symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Muscle pain, sputum production, diarrhoea, and sore throat are less common. While the majority of cases result in mild symptoms, some progress to pneumonia and multi-organ failure.
On the 16th of March 2020, Zambia recorded its first two cases of the Covid-19. As a land-linked country, the threat of the spread of the infectious disease through the open borders could not be ignored
Road Tolling, specifically, places the National Road Fund Agency in the face of the virus as Toll Collectors interface with various motorists from home and abroad.
It was for this reason that Secretary to the Treasury, Fredson Yamba toured Katuba Toll Station to check on operations and preventive measures that had been put in place by the NRFA in the wake of the Covid-19 to mitigate the threat of its quick spread.
Mr Yamba who noted the importance of maintaining the road tolling structures as they were the country’s preserve of resources was impressed with the precautionary measures put in place to prevent the pilferage of collected revenue through the monitoring of tolling activities at the Control Centre.
Upon arrival at the Toll Station, Mr Yamba and his entourage were led to a hand wash centre where he was required to wash his hands and sanitize before being given a pair of gloves and mask.
The Secretary to the Treasury then proceeded to the operations room where he was taken through the transaction process by the Senior Toll Collector before heading out to the platform where he conducted a cash transaction.
The Agency put in place stringent steps at all toll stations as well as at its head office in Lusaka in line with Ministry of Health guidelines as preventive measures to mitigate the spread of the virus.
NRFA Director/Chief Executive Officer Eng. Wallece Mumba pointed out that the Agency was expediting the full roll-out of the E-Toll payment system to discourage cash transactions.
“We would like to urge motorists to use this opportunity to acquire E-Toll Cards that allow them to pay for tolls at all toll stations across the country electronically to avoid cash handling transactions,” he said.
The Agency has since distributed 9,500 E-Toll Cards.
Among other measures implemented is the distribution of hand sanitizers, disinfectants, masks as well as gloves to all toll stations across the country, while handwashing facilities have been strategically placed for use by motorists as well as staff.
Staff are also working on a rotational basis to avoid close contact with clients.
The Agency further continues to undertake public awareness through various platforms and is in close engagement with the Ministry of Health for continuous guidance on how best operations should be conducted during this period.