Minister of Health Dr Chitalu Chilufya has refuted claims that they are falsifying numbers of COVID-19 cases as doing so will only put the country at a greater risk.

And UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema has donated 300 thermometers, 50 boxes of liquid soap, 100 boxes of Hygenix soap, 100 boxes of Yebo soap, beef and 200 bags of mealie meal towards the fight against COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the country has not recorded any new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours while a 74-year-old patient with underlying health conditions is now on oxygen.

Speaking during the daily COVID-19 briefing, Wednesday, Dr Chilufya refuted claims by the Democratic Party that he was under reporting cases, saying this was not time to politic, but to unite.

“A healthy nation is our inescapable responsibility as various stakeholders and we don’t politic about health, there is no value in faking numbers, you put the country at risk. If you hide numbers, if you hide positives, you are actually not alerting the people on how to stay away from people who are possibly ill. The government of His Excellency President Edgar Lungu runs a transparent system in public health security and it observes the basic tenets of surveillance and disease intelligence, of integrity in the data that we release. We act based on science of evidence so everything that we are doing in this response is anchored on seven fundamentals, surveillance, quarantine, contact tracing, laboratory testing, case management, risk communication, human capital management,” Dr Chilufya said.

“We are not interested in anything else. Our enemy today is not any political party, it is COVID-19 and it is time that we all held hands as political parties and ensured we face this political enemy, it is not time for politicking and therefore I will not glorify that question with any further information and those who are willing to join the fight should come and holding hands with President Lungu as we work together to ensure the country is safe from this great threat of COVID-19 that has been known to take away millions of lives globally.”

And Dr Chilufya said the country had not recorded any new case and no discharges had been made in the last 24 hours.

“In the last 24 hours, Zambia has not recorded any new case of COVID-19, this marks six days consecutively without any case of COVID-19. A total of 154 tests were conducted and these included alerts, suspects in quarantine, contacts and patients in isolation, all the tests were negative. This brings the cumulative total of cases done in Zambia to 1,239 out of which 39 have been positive. The death toll remains at one and the discharges remain at seven, we are not discharging anyone today. Out of the 31 patients, two are on the Copperbelt and remain stable and 29 are in Lusaka and one of the patients is a 74-year-old man who is ill and is on oxygen and requires very close monitoring. So we have one ill patient with an underlying condition and who is being cared for by our team of specialists. A cumulative total of 1,672 citizens have successfully completed the 14 day quarantine period. We have further attended to 434 alerts and all of them have been cleared as none cases,” he said.

He said out of 195 truck drivers who were quarantined at UNZA, 147 had tested negative and would be released to continue on their journey.

“The Ministry of Health working with its partners, line ministries, continue to ensure a smooth management of trucks and truck drivers in the different international routes to ensure that delicate balance between admission of essential goods in the country and avoiding importation of new cases in the country. As we speak, we have 195 truck drivers that are quarantined at our quarantine facility at the Great East Road campus. Out of these 195, 147 have been screened and are all negative and will be released today to continue top their points of destination. Those who are Zambian drivers domiciled in Zambia will continue under quarantine for 14 days at owner’s cost,” he said.

And when asked about the way forward on the 14 day presidential directive, Dr Chilufya said President Lungu would address the nation on the way forward.

“The President did impose a number of measures to run for 14 days, these measures are being reviewed by the Presidency and evidence that has been adduced will inform what next action the President shall take. At an appropriate time, the President will address the nation and advise on what measures, informed by evidence that in his wisdom, he will take. So for now, our focus is on the measures that the President announced in the last 13 to 14 days and those measures are still in force and they have yielded results. Anything beyond those measures shall be addressed by the Presidency,” said Dr Chilufya.

And Hichilema, through his National Chairperson Mutale Nalumango, donated several items, calling on Zambians to be brothers’ keepers as the disease knew no divide.

“As we aware, the pandemic has come with devastating effects on our economy and we do realize that not every Zambian can afford sanitizers, not every Zambian can afford soaps, not every Zambian can afford masks and we need therefore to be each brother’s keeper in extending a helping hand to our neighbor. The volumes of what you give may not be the most important, not even he cost but if you can buy one sanitizer for yourself and another one for the needy, you have done something to help mitigate the spread of this virus. We join you to invite others in whatever little may be able to contribute so that we can together fight this virus,” said Nalumango, who also called for a reduction in the number of trucks that enter the country to avoid a further spread of the disease.

Meanwhile, Bread of Life Church International overseer Bishop Joe Imakando donated IV fluids worth K100,000 towards the fight against COVID-19 in the country.

Recently, Bishop Imakando suffered public ridicule after asking congregants to make use of electronic payment systems to give tithes and offering during this period.