Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya has disclosed that 2 patients have recovered and tested negative to the novel Coronavirus and are due for discharge on Saturday and that the country recorded no new cases in the last 24 hours.

And the Dr Chilufya says Home Affairs minister Stephen Kampyongo and his Finance counterpart Dr Bwalya Ng’andu have been released from quarantine after testing negative for COVID-19.

Meanwhile, Kampyongo has warned that media houses that will be found breaching the privacy of individuals will face the wrath of the law.

Speaking the during daily COVID-19 update, Friday, Dr Chilufya said that all COVID-19 patients were stable and under the care of the specialized teams.

“Zambia has not recorded any new case of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours by laboratory confirmation. The cumulative numbers remain at 39 and one death. All patients that are in our care, two on the Copperbelt and 36 in Lusaka remain stable. They are all stable and under care of our specialized teams. We also want to report some progress indicators on our surveillance, we have followed up to date 262 alerts that we have investigated and out if these alerts, all of them have been classified as non-cases after follow up. And I am happy to announce that two patients have tested negative to the virus, and they will be discharged tomorrow. In short they have recovered, they tested positive to the virus but after frequent testing and retesting, they have now tested negative and are due for discharge tomorrow,” he said.

“I am also happy to report that out of 5,656 persons that were classified as high risk upon entry in our various points of entry, we have successfully discharged 1,376 out of the 14 day quarantine. They have been freed and have no symptoms, the rest continue to be under the watchful eye of our surveillance teams and they engage on a daily basis for symptoms or indeed any other thing that may point us to further action. Globally as at 07 o’clock today, the world surpassed the one million mark, with a total of 1,015,877 cases of Covid19 recorded. This has included 53,218 deaths recorded in 204 countries around the world. In Africa alone we have recorded 7,449 cases of covid 19 with 301 deaths and this is in 51 countries.”

He however noted that Malawi yesterday recorded three cases of the virus and has called for heightened surveillance in all points of entry shared between the two countries.

“Malawi recorded three cases yesterday and it was announced formally. That is epidemiologically significant for us as we share a long border with Malawi, in Eastern Province. It is a call for action for our colleagues in the surveillance teams in Eastern Province to up the game and we are happy to note that there is very strong surveillance activity at our borders at Chanida and at our various ports of entry and we have also noted that there is a very strong presence of surveillance along the whole route including at Kacholola,” he added.

And Dr Chilufya said his ministry would continue to be transparent while respecting patients’ rights as he disclosed that Dr Ngandu and Kampyongo had been released from quarantine.

“Yesterday, I was with the Minister of Finance and he sent me this to say he is back in his office, he was under quarantine and he has tested negative to COVID-19 and he requested that that be made public. We want to tell you that we will be transparent while respecting patients’ rights. We urge all of you, VIP, ordinary persons, citizens, everyone, we all face the risk and please come forth and ensure that whenever you have any possible contact, any suspicion, make sure that you get in touch with our surveillance teams, we will respect your rights and we will ensure that only yourself or your permission that your clinical data is shared,” said Dr Chilufya.

“I would like to announce that my colleague from home affairs is free from incarceration, he was incarcerated, quarantined at home and he’s COVID free, his test came out negative yesterday and be rest assured he is not transmitting anywhere in this building.”

Meanwhile, Kampyongo has called on the media to respect the privacy of individuals and government officials.

“I also just want to appeal to you our colleagues from the media, to understand that privacy of individuals must be respected and it’s a requirement by law. So those who want to breach other people’s privacy might face the wrath of the law. The two minister’s sitted here, being the minister of government, the minister of health, the minister of information, are the people that communicate who can have the authority with the consent of either myself as a minister or indeed any other minister including the head of state to share information. So if you want to be clever by wanting to do screaming headlines regardless of what time they come, of course I saw something on fool’s day to scoop, what you call scooping, it won’t help you because it will land you in problems,” warned Kampyongo.

“It must be known that every individual, we have seen it even world over where leaders have had to go through this test, it’s individual leaders that have been making pronouncements of their status, prime minister Boris Johnson, his health secretary it was the same and everywhere else so you have to be patient with us, we are human beings, we are not super human who cannot be affected by this virus that’s why we are all taking precautions to protect ourselves and protect those that are closer to us but what is key is to respect our individual space as individuals because we are leaders who are elected by people and you must be mindful of what you are doing to those people if you are sending information that can send them into panic.”