HEALTH Minister Chitalu Chilufya says Zambia has confirmed its first two cases of COVID-19.
At a press briefing, Wednesday, Dr Chilufya said a 39-year-old man and a 37-year-old woman, a Zambian couple that had gone to France on holiday with their two children returned to Lusaka from a 10 day holiday aboard an Emirates flight on March 15 had tested positive for COVID19.\
Dr Chitalu said the husband was the only one who was showing symptoms while his wife was asymptotic.
Meanwhile, their children tested negative for the novel coronavirus.
“Zambia has confirmed its first two cases of COVID-19. The patients are a Zambian couple of Lusaka that traveled to France on a 10-day holiday with their two children. They came back and they passed through our international airport and because of our alert system, the travel history did pick that they traveled in a country where COVID-19 cases were on the rise. For this reason, both the father, the mother and the two children were placed and under self quarantine. 24 hours later, our alert surveillance officers made a follow up; they found them observing the self quarantine rules and they did find out that one of the members of the family did develop a fever and a flu,” Dr Chilufya said.
“They conducted tests and the tests results were released this morning and the two, the mother and father have laboratory confirmed COVID-19. These parents and the two children returned back to Zambia on March the 15th 2020 aboard Emirates airlines. As we speak, the couple and the two children have been isolation in our designated isolation facilities in Chilanga and they are receiving appropriate treatment.”
He said only the husband had shown symptoms of while the wife was asymptomatic.
“I must assure the nation that only the man was symptomatic; the wife is asymptomatic even the husband no longer has a flu and no longer has a fever. As we speak, three members of the family remain without symptoms; the husband who was symptomatic just a day after being admitted into the country has also become asymptomatic the fever has receded, the headache has receded and he is on firm track to recover,” he said.
Dr Chilufya said the Ministry was tracking all the people who may have had been in contact with the couple during and after the travel.
“All those who had come into contact with these four members of the family, we are tracking them! We are tracking for symptoms and testing them for the virus. We want to emphasize that for those who traveled with these members of the family, we will contact them. We do allow filling of forms and that is where the history is derived from and their contacts numbers. We will make sure that we treat all those individuals who may come into contact with the couple. Furthermore, for those who would have come into contact with the couple but did not contract the COVID-19 virus after the 14 day period, we will integrate back in the society,” Dr Chilufya said.
Dr Chilufya asked citizens not to panic as COVID-19 had a mortality rate of only two percent.
“I would like to emphasize that the COVID-19 disease carries only two percent mortality rate and most of the persons that are infected globally, recover. Therefore, reporting two cases in Zambia out of a family that went on a 10-day holiday to France should not cause panic. Life should go on as usual. There should be no panic in the country all is under control,” said Dr Chilufya.