HEALTH Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya says the 19-year-old COVID-19 female patient has died, bringing the local pandemic-mortality rate to 3.

And Dr Chilufya says Zambia recorded four news cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, among them, two medical personnel from Chilenje Hospital.

Speaking during his daily COVID-19 updates, Sunday, Dr Chilufya said the 19-year-old woman had attempted suicide had died.

“We have lost a 19-year-old patient who had attempted suicide by consuming a herbicide called parakant. The herbicide predominantly causes respiratory distress in addition to multiple organ failure. She was in a critical state and our specialized team did all they could to manage her condition. Unfortunately, she was also notified for COVID-19. We lost her, we pay condolences to the family on behalf of government,” Dr Chilufya said.

He said Zambia had conducted 397 tests in the last 24 hours.

“Today marks exactly one month since the first lab tested cases of COVID-19 were reported in our nation. In the last 24 hours, Zambia conducted 397 tests and out of those, four were recorded positive. So Zambia has recorded four new positives of COVID-19 and that brings the total number of cases to 61. With the death that we recorded that is COVID related, the mortality has now risen to three. We have 61 cases of COVID recorded, three deaths 33 recoveries and as we speak, we have 26 under our care,” Dr Chilufya said.

“When we analyze the four that we recorded as positives in the last 24 hours, we have again picked two from Kafue; one 29-year-old female from Kafue Estates and one male, 55 years old, from Kafue Railways. The other two are our own medical staff at Chilenje Hospital who were managing this patient who died, one nurse and one medical licentiate, a 26-year-old female from Libala south and a 36-year-old female of Lusaka Chalala Salena area. We have embarked on a robust mass contact tracing program and we are testing all the contacts and all those who are found positive are being taken to our isolation facilities. The rest of the 397 tests came out negative.”

Dr Chilufya announced that there would be an increase in the number of tests in Lusaka and Kafue.

“We have recorded three deaths, we can record more with poor compliance. We have done a total of 2,586 tests and we have also investigated 8,709 high risk individuals and out of those, 2,482 have been discharged off the 14 day quarantine period. And we want to thank the community for being alert and having brought to our attention 760 cases of alerts. When we analyze what we were doing in Kafue yesterday, we collected 46 swabs and out of those, two were positive. The mission for contact tracing, mass screening and testing will continue in Kafue. We also moved in Chilenje and where we have lost that woman. We tested 30 within the hospital and outside and that is where we had two cases and 28 were found to be negative,” Dr Chilufya said

“Our approach is that we are going to focus on increased screening and testing in our various communities so you are going to see our teams in Kafue, Lusaka, Kabwe in selected parts screening citizens and targeting testing. The number of tests will be increasing by the day this is to ensure that we pick out all the positives, isolate them and not allow to transmit to the next person. We urge you to cooperate fully with the teams they come in to your various jurisdictions. The patients under our care remain stable. Lusaka by the public health act is an infected area it is not area where you should be visiting.”

And Dr Chilufya said Africa had recorded over 21,000 cases of COVID-19.

“Globally, we have recorded a total number of 2,332,004 cases and we have lost 160,767 cases and 597,220 recoveries this is now affecting 210 countries. In Africa, we have recorded 21,741 with 1,082 deaths and we have recoveries of 5,470 cases. In SADC, we see South Africa with the highest number of 3,034 cases and 52 deaths. In Zambia, we have 61 cases and three deaths,” said Dr Chilufya.