HEALTH Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya says a Chingola couple that recently traveled to Dar-es-Salaam via Nakonde on a business trip has tested positive to COVID-19, bringing the countrywide total to 76.

Meanwhile, Information Minister Dora Siliya has urged Zambians to be afraid of COVID-19, adding that there’s no need to travel during this time.

At a briefing, Thursday, Dr Chilufya said there were now four COVID-19 cases on the Copperbelt.

“In the last 24 hours, we conducted a total of 459 tests and out of these tests, we recorded two new positive cases. These two new positive cases were recorded in Chingola, and this involves a couple; a 45-year-old man and a 45-year-old woman who traveled to Dar es salaam and Nakonde in the last two weeks on a business trip. They came back and on testing, they tested positive. They are currently admitted to our isolation facility. That brings the number of patients on the Copperbelt to four. Cumulatively, we have gone up to 76 [cases]. We still remain at three deaths. In fact we have recorded two more discharges and therefore the number of cases in our facilities is 36 and the number of recoveries has moved up to 37,” he said.

Dr Chilufya said boarder control in Nakonde and Southern Province needed to be tightened to ensure that more COVID-19 cases were not imported.

He reiterated his calls for people to stay home, among other measures.

And Dr Chilufya said out of the mass screening in Kafue and Lusaka, no new cases were recorded in the last 24 hours.

“However, we have continued and even upscaled the testing and screening. Today (yesterday) we were in Emmasdale and Chaisa and there will be a number of tests that would be done. We will continue in a targeted manner, to test particular parts of the city and ensure that we establish the extent of the disease. Targeted community testing and screening will continue in various parts of Lusaka this coming week. Remember that even if we are not in your area, ensure that you alert us if you have seen an alert,” he said.

And Dr Chilufya said the results of the suspicious death involving a 52-year-old Choma resident who died at the University Teaching Hospital on Monday were negative for COVID-19.

He, however, said they were investigating another death involving a woman from Mongu who was taken to the hospital with respiratory symptoms and a fever.

He said she died shortly after arrival but was reportedly ill at home for more than five days.

Dr Chilufya further explained that, “We use various chemicals to disinfect places, surfaces or public trading places. The common ingredients in there is chlorine and alcohol. Usually 20 percent of alcohol and about three percent of chlorine and other ingredients like water.”

And Information Minister Dora Siliya urged Zambians to be afraid of COVID-19.

“Ladies and gentlemen, let us be very afraid of the coronavirus. The Minister of Health has this week graphically shown us how the disease is spreading especially here in Lusaka which is the epicenter. There’s no need to travel and contract the coronavirus because then you end up endangering other people especially the health staff. We should be very afraid of Bowman Lusambo when he says ‘please let us not gather, let us not be drinking in shabeens’. Lets us observe personal hygiene. The coronavirus has no legs, we facilitate its travel and as a result we put lives of our family and others in danger. Stay at home,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) has donated K200,000 towards the front-line staff welfare to ensure food and other basic supplies were provided to them.

ZRA has further re-allocated its advertising space worth K800,000 for a period of one month on 40 different radio stations country wide to scale up sensitization on COVID-19.

This will also be done on ZNBC, Diamond TV, ZED TV, Zambia Daily Mail, Times of Zambia and Daily Nation newspapers.

Standard Chartered Bank, partnering with Water Aid, has also donated 100 liter tanks to scale up hand washing facilities as preventative measure for COVID-19, among other donations.