HEALTH Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya says 174 new cases have been recorded in the last 72 hours out of the 336 tests.

And Dr Chilufya says President Edgar Lungu would announce if there is need to close other borders.

Speaking during his daily COVID-19 update, Tuesday, Dr Chilufya said 174 cases were from the validation of results that were conducted on the 9th and 10th of May.

“The COVID-19 outbreak status in Zambia today… I shall report on the validation of tests that we did in Nakonde, in fact in TDRC and also the few tests that we did in Lusaka. Let me emphasise that the laboratories in Lusaka in the last 72 hours have primarily focused on validating the tests earlier conducted at the TDRC for Nakonde, Copperbelt, North Western and Central Province and therefore we have done fewer tests in Lusaka in the last 72 hours. Validation is part of quality control checks which is routine and in view of the high positivity on those particular areas. The few cases that we did in Lusaka were only 30 and those cases all came out negative. Following validation tests that were performed on the 9th and 10th of May, I now wish to report an additional 174 new cases out of the 338 tests that were performed. This therefore bring the number of cumulative cases to 441 including 7 deaths and 117 recoveries,” Dr Chilufya said.

He said other provinces had recorded new cases.

“The 174 cases that have been reported today, include 66 truck drivers, travellers from across the border in Nakonde, individuals in the health facilities, staff at the points of entry, individuals targeted through the mass testing and screening and also the contacts from known cases. If we breakdown by province; in Muchinga Province, Nakonde in particular recorded 126 cases, the Copperbelt recorded 29 cases, and when you unzip that; 22 came from Ndola, while Chingola had one, Mpongwe one, Kitwe had one and Masaiti had four. In Northwestern Province, we had five new cases; Solwezi had four cases and Kalumbila one. Central Province recorded 14 new cases three in Kapiri Mposhi and 11 in Kabwe,” he said.

Dr Chilufya said over 10,000 tests had been conducted so far.

“We have done 10,600 tests to date. We have no discharges in the last 24 hours and all the patients that are in our isolation facilities are said to be stable. There are now 3,759 cases that we have discharged from the routine quarantine and the alerts from the community have now reached 1,937,” he said.

And Dr Chilufya said President Lungu would give a directive if there’s need to close other borders.

“There is need for a balance between economic activity and avoiding a public health crisis. Therefore, we will be able to decide that this area will be restricted to reduce the number of cases while allowing flow of essentials that is extremely important. So the decision to lock down is informed by data or analysis of the outbreak. If we will need to close any boarder we will get back to you and announce and the President shall direct but that shall be informed by data,” he said.

And when asked when Zambia’s Covid-19 situation would reach its peak Dr Chilufya projected that it would be in two to three months.

“We project two to three months that is my projection. I can assure you that we have not yet peaked in Africa and even the number of deaths have not peaked in Africa so let us continue to practice what we have been told; hand washing, physical distancing, ensuring the environment is clean and that way we are going to prevent COVID-19 in or country. And our enhanced capacity to test you will see more and more tests. You will see more cases we are in the surge and remember what is fuelling this epidemic today is the importation of cases through the Nakonde border, truck drivers moving and taking the cases all over,” said Dr Chilufya.