MINISTER of Health Dr Chitalu Chilufya has announced that Zambia has recorded a third case of the novel coronavirus.
And Dr Chilufya says government is concerned with some of the returning passengers at the borders who are resisting quarantine rules.
Meanwhile, the Minister says President Edgar Lungu will continue to monitor and issue guidance by updating the nation on any measures that would be recruited.
Speaking to journalists, Sunday, Dr Chilufya said a 59-year-old Lusaka-based man who traveled to Pakistan tested positive for COVID 19, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to three.
“Zambia has recorded another case of COVID-19 and that brings the total number of cases to three. This case involved a Lusaka-based 59-year-old man who recently traveled to Pakistan on 9th March and returned to Lusaka on 18th March, 2020. He is currently stable and admitted to our isolation facility and his contacts are being traced. The two cases that we admitted earlier and that we confirmed laboratory positive are recuperating well and today we are repeating our tests to ascertain progress. We want to emphasize that the measures that we have put in place continue to hold,” Dr Chilufya said.
“We continue to restrict public gatherings, we continue to emphasize the need to wash hands and ensure that we operate in clean environments. We continue to emphasize the need to be alert and report any suspects to relevant authorities. And we continue to emphasize the need to avoid non-essential travels. For those of you who are working in various places, we reiterate the need for you to ensure that you wash your hands with washing facilities available. Hand washing and hygiene are fundamental in our response. We have raised the level of alert on all our ports of entry and our port health staff are working to screen anyone coming into the Country by taking their travel history, examining them for symptoms such as fever or indeed any other symptoms and for those that are suspects, we are admitting them to isolation facilities. For those who have traveled to COVID 19 high risk countries, we are imposing self-quarantines.”
He said government is concerned with some of the returning passengers who are resisting quarantine rules.
“I must use this platform to emphasise to all returning citizens to comply with our staff to ensure that you obey the quarantine rules. We have noted with concern that some of our
returning passengers are resisting quarantine rules. Quarantine rules are backed by laws and there is a Statutory Instrument that has been put in place and you are therefore duty bond to obey the quarantine rules. Those of you who are coming from high risk countries, you should undergo quarantine rules which are 14 days and if you break the law, then the law will visit you. We have adequate manpower that is doing follow ups and we will act in the interest of the vast majority of citizens to ensure that we protect them from contracting the disease,” Dr Chilufya said.
“Therefore, I am making an appeal to all of you to act in solidarity for your neighbor and the public to ensure that we live within the law and the quarantine rules are followed.”
The minister said the global pandemic statistics showed that over 350,000 people had been infected so far.
“I would like to emphasise that this epidemic has continued to show rapid geographical spread globally, and as we stand today, we have 358,463 cases globally, including 13,069 deaths. In Africa, 41 Countries have been affected, including Zambia, and we have recorded 1,248 cases
with 37 deaths. The countries that are recording the highest number of cases include Egypt, that has recorded 294 cases, South African 240, Algeria 139 with 15 deaths, Egypt has 10 deaths, Morocco six with three deaths, Burkina Faso 64 with three deaths and closer to home, DRC, has 23 and with only one death. Tanzania has six cases; Namibia has three, Angola two, Zimbabwe three and Kingdom of eSwatini four,” Dr Chilufya said.
Meanwhile, Dr Chilufya said President Lungu is “gravely concerned with this great threat of the COVID-19 outbreak and has directed a multi sectorial robust response to this threat”.
“The President of Zambia continues to work to monitor the pandemic and will continue to issue guidance and will continue updating the nation on any measures that will be recruited,” said Dr Chilufya.