ZAMBIA has not recorded any new case of Coronavirus in the last 24 hours for the fifth consecutive day, with two more recoveries, bringing the total discharges to seven since last Saturday, says Health Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya.

And Dr Chilufya has encouraged the use of home-made masks, refuting claims that masks are a medium of spreading the virus.

Speaking during the daily COVID-19 media briefing in Lusaka, Tuesday, Dr Chilufya said of the 104 tested in the last 24 hours, none tested positive, leaving the cumulative number at 39, with one death and seven recoveries.

“In the last 24 hours, Zambia has not recorded any case of COVID-19 marking the fifth consecutive day without recording a new case of COVID-29. Among the 104 tests that we conducted in the last 24 hours, none was positive. Furthermore, two of the clients that were admitted in the early batch tested negative twice and have been discharged. That brings our statistics to a total number of 1,085 tests performed, 39 positive, one death, seven discharges. The 31 cases that remain under our care are stable, two on the Copperbelt and 29 in Lusaka. Of the 7,356 persons classified as high risk, due to their travel history, we have now discharged from the mandatory 14-day quarantine period, 1,601,” Dr Chilufya said.

“A cumulative total of 381 alerts have been tested, screened and have been classified as none cases and discharged home. Our rapid response teams have been on the ground responding to the alerts from the community and for this, we place on record, profuse gratitude to members of the community, who have been alert and have been engaging our rapid response teams whenever they suspect that there is a case of COVID-19.”

And Dr Chilufya called on citizens to adhere to prevention to avoid a second wave of infections of Coronavirus as seen in other countries.

“Ladies and gentlemen, observations on the evolution of this outbreak from other countries indicate a second wave of infections may occur after a period of respite, especially when control measures are relaxed. In this regard, I wish to reiterate that we must all remain focused on adhering to the interventions that the Republican President did announce to the nation two weeks ago. Stay at home, Lusaka is the epicentre, stay away from Lusaka and stay within Lusaka, maintain social distance, put on your mask, make sure that you protect your family by staying at home,” he urged.

Meanwhile, Dr Chilufya encouraged the use of masks to avoid spreading the virus.

“When you have a cough or flu, use your mask, masks could be home made. Lusaka Helps yesterday did bring samples of home-made masks, we have seen a number of innovative groups come with masks and that must be encouraged, and these are reusable, use masks. To this effect, I have directed the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health to work with his colleagues in the Ministry of Local Government to engage leaders of markets, leaders of associations to engage leaders of street vendors to see how we can distribute the PPEs that we receive from well-wishers,” he said.

He further said that the Ministry had active epidemic preparedness systems, which saw the picking of the driver to the French couple, who was one of the discharged patients.

“As COVID-19 broke out, we were not starting from zero in our epidemic preparedness, we already had a framework, which is part of the health system strengthening agenda that this government has embarked on. For example, when the French couple arrived on Sunday, the following day, they were called at 09:00 hours and a team picked that somebody had a flu and they were admitted, they were tested and they were positive. Next, we checked who sat next to them on the plane, we followed up and found that that person was in Luanshya, we followed and they were positive, they are admitted,” narrated Dr Chilufya.

“We asked this person who they came in contact with, one was the driver, who picked them up from the airport, took them to the house, we followed up and that driver was positive and was admitted, and I am happy to report that he is one of the people discharged. We followed the contact of that driver, his family and so on and all of them proved negative. So, there is a logical algorithm for testing, it’s an informed algorithm, science-based so that we are economical, even in the use of the test kits. It’s a not a random survey of testing everyone, the cases lead us.”

And Information and Broadcasting Minister Dora Siliya disclosed during the same briefing that the measures announced by President Edgar Lungu, which were coming to an end in two days, were currently being reviewed based on evidence levels of compliance and impact of the measures.