NATIONAL Democratic Congress (NDC) president Chishimba Kambwili has expressed worry about the rate at which Ministry of Health is carrying out tests, isolating suspects and tracing the spread of the novel coronavirus.

In a statement issued by NDC spokesperson Saboi Imboela, Tuesday, Kambwili said the snail’s pace at which the Ministry was conducting tests was frightening.

“It is now a month since the pandemic reached our country and the number of tests amounting to 3508 are not enough and are clinically insignificant to halt the spread of the virus. Though in the past two days we have moved to capacity of 600 screening and testing per day, it is still clinically low, very low and not enough to track and curb the disease spread,” Kambwili said.

“It is worth noting that the current cumulative total of tests conducted by the Ministry of Health as at 21st April 2020 stands at 3,508 tests against the estimated population for Zambia which is a staggering 18.38 million. This essentially means that only 0.019% of Zambians have been tested. Lusaka province, the epicenter, has a Population of 3,300,000 people.”

Kambwili said the slow pace being taken by the Ministry of Health would inevitably plunge the country into a deeper health crisis.

“On March 3, 2020 government put it on record, through the Chief Government Spokesperson, honourable Dora Siliya that Cabinet had approved the creation of a contingency fund for emergency preparedness, prevention and mitigation measures against the Coronavirus outbreak. We are also aware that the 1st Donation to Zambia by Jack Ma Foundation allocated 20,000 COVID-19 testing kits, 100,000 masks and 1,000 medical-use protective suits and shields by the Jack Ma Foundation,” Kambwili stated.

“Most recently, Zambia received 20,000 test kits from the Jack Ma foundation, clearly we now have the capacity to even test at least 20,000 people per day. Therefore, there was need for government to publicly disclose the items and quantity of donations and the sums of money from other well wishers.He stated that there was no valid reason as to why the government, through the Ministry of Health, was failing to quickly mobilize clinical personal to expedite mass testing in Lusaka province. We, therefore, recommend that the government should immediately lock down Lusaka province to ensure a mass testing exercise and expedite the free distribution of masks, hand sanitizers and continue disinfecting public places.”

And Kambwili called on President Edgar Lungu “to cage” Lusaka Province Minister Bowman Lusambo for his “lawless behavior”.

“There is no state of emergency in Zambia and President Lungu hasn’t issued any Presidential decree to warrant Lusambo to become a law enforcement agent. A report has also sufficed that he must have caused an accident. If true, Lusambo must be indicted for causing that accident. The people paid money, their hard earned K10s to go to their destinations and he had them drop off. The bus owners also lost business due to his kabova behaviour and he should be sued for that. People that were dropped from buses and bus owners should visit the NDC Secretariat so that they are helped with legal proceedings,” said Kambwili.