HEALTH Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya says Zambia has recorded four new cases of COVID-19 as at yesterday, bringing the cumulative total to 88.

At his daily briefing yesterday, Dr Chilufya said the four new cases were out of 378 tests that were conducted, explaining that one positive case was from Ndola while the other three were from Lusaka.

“Today Zambia has recorded four new cases of COVID-19 out of the 378 tests that were carried out. Of the four new positive cases, one [is] from the Copperbelt and three from Lusaka. It is important to note that one of the positive cases is a resident of Chilenje, out of the mass screening that was taking place. The other is a Lusaka resident who reported to the University Teaching Hospital with a dental abscess and out of the facility based surveillance that has been instituted where everyone coming to the facility is screened and tested for Covid, this patient was found to have Covid-19,” Dr Chilufya said.

“This therefore, brings the cumulative total of Covid-19 cases in Zambia to 88, with three deaths. The number of active cases has therefore shot up to 43 with 37 in Lusaka, five on the Copperbelt and one in Kabwe. All patients remain in a stable condition and are being managed by our gallant men and women at the front line.”

Dr Chilufya added that they had received a total of 1,092 alerts that were being cleared as non cases.

He further encouraged citizens to avoid traveling.

Dr Chilufya said the team that was working in Nakonde would continue quarantining everyone who was coming from Tanzania for 14 days in government designated facility, but at their own cost.

“Makeni was our focus yesterday (Saturday) and we will continue with Makeni and surrounding areas in the first day or two of the week and so far we have collected samples from 746 individuals. The operation will continue this week and will extend to Rhodespark, Madras, Kamwala and other parts of Lusaka. The team that is working in Nakonde will continue quarantining everyone who is coming in from Tanzania to ensure that 14-day mandatory period [for] quarantine is done in government designated facility but at your own cost,” he said.

“It is therefore encouraged not to travel, postpone your travel to ensure that you avoid exposure. If you do travel, do remember that we will quarantine you on your return in a government designated facility for 14 days within Nakonde and you must test negative before we re-integrate you into society.”

He further observed that being quarantined in a facility for weeks on end could be stressful, adding that psycho-social counselling and other mental health services were available for those under quarantine.

“Being quarantined in a facility for weeks on end can be very stressful. Part of the management involves psycho therapy. So mental services broadly are available for our people that are being quarantined. Stress can cause serious anomalies on anybody in a quarantine facility. Therefore, our team is multi disciplinary and involves counsellors, psychiatrists, mental health nurses and psychologists to ensure that we address all the facets of case management when we have to do with patients that are in our facilities. It is for this reason that we don’t take lightly the case of the young woman who came in as a para-suicide and thereafter died. Though we are not saying she took poison because of Covid-19, we are saying for those who are kept in quarantine and are stressed, it is important that we manage them through psycho-social counselling and through other mental health services to ensure that they are stable,” said Dr Chilufya.