HEALTH Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya says 11 new COVID-19 cases have been recorded in Lusaka and Kabwe in the last 24 hours out of 667 tests.

But Dr Chilufya says no new cases have been recorded in Nakonde.

Meanwhile, Dr Chilufya says asymptomatic COVID-19 Nakonde patients will be managed from their homes in order to reserve isolation facilities for serious cases.

Speaking during his daily COVID-19 updates, Saturday, Dr Chilufya said the new cumulative total was now 679.

“With the increasing threats of importation of COVID-19 through our various border points, the plan recognizes the need for us to implement stringent measures at all borders in order to ensure adequate surveillance through screening and testing and also to ensure the 14 day quarantine period of all those with history of travel to Covid-19 risk countries. Today, our laboratory reported 11 new cases out of 667 tests carried in the last in 24 hours. And that then brings our cumulative cases to 679. Four of the 11 cases are from Kabwe while seven are in Lusaka. These new patients have been moved our isolation facilities and are being managed,” Dr Chilufya said.

He said 31 patients had been discharged, among them 20 health workers.

“In Nakonde where we are today, the Chinsali facility did conduct a few tests and we did not record a positive and thereof, today we will continue screening and testing and we have carried out mass testing and we will be expecting to hear results of not less than 150 samples that we have carried out in the last 24 to 48 hours. But currently in Nakonde where we are reporting from today, we have 105 patients under isolation, 26 in Nakonde and 79 in Chinsali General Hospital. On a rather positive note, we have discharged 31 patients from our various isolation facilities and they include 20 health workers and miraculously includes a 45-year-old man who we had admitted not only because of COVID-19 but also had hypertensive encephalopathy the rest of the cases remain stable,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Chilufya said government had adopted a model that in Nakonde, asymptomatic patients would be admitted in their homes.

“It will be important for us to do active case management. We will need to manage the cases. If we are talking of high positivity rate, of close to 60 percent, then we should try to see who we are managing and here in Nakonde, we have adopted a community based model. So operation Nakonde has adopted a model that is unique as we look at the number of positive cases. For the elderly, for those with comorbidities, for the young with poor immunity, we will manage them from our health facilities, for the elderly, for those with symptoms, in Nakonde and Chinsali, for those who are positive, yet are asymptomatic, we will manage them in the communities as long the conditions in their homes are suitable or can be aligned to what is provided for in the Public Health Act,” Dr Chilufya said.

“To this effect, we will have a community based managers who will have a number of houses to look at that have people who are positive and are quarantined in their home space and are not putting the rest of the families at risk. But one of the key prerequisites will be to swab the rest of the family members and to ensure that, that member of the family who is positive will have appropriate facilities at home to quarantine them. Failure to adhere to that, will mean that we will have to mandatory admit them to a facility. This is to ensure that the numbers we have in Nakonde that are swelling are accommodated.”

He said indications were that 60 per cent of Nakonde residents were infected.

“It is important to recognize Nakonde as an infected area in line with the Public Health Act. Nakonde has shown a positivity from the previous samples that we have taken and if this be consistent, then the positivity rate in Nakonde is very high. This is the reason why we will expedite processing of samples from Nakonde and from within Muchinga Province to establish the full extent of the challenge but our preliminary estimates put positivity in Nakonde at around 60 per cent. And now this has implications in the response and what we are going to adopt as the response in Nakonde will be resonating with what we see on the ground,” Dr Chilufya said.

“Tomorrow, we will start mass testing from our homes in selected parts of Nakonde. We will go on from Sunday, Monday Tuesday, Wednesday and after those four days of continuous mass screening and testing, we will again allow a window of opportunity for our people in Nakonde to do what they need to do. And we will review the outcomes of work done and we will review the extent of work remaining. The cold season is here and we might not have seen the worst. We will give updates as the epidemic evolves and at appropriate levels of political leadership.”

He said over 4,000 people had been discharged from 14 days mandatory quarantine period.

“We have discharged 4,183 cases from the mandatory quarantine period and we have also cleared 2,090 who were notified to us as alerts,” he said.

Dr Chilufya said over 30,000 people had recovered in Africa.

“At a global level, 4,628,879 cases have been recorded with 308,655 deaths, 1,760,629 cases have recovered. Getting back home to Africa just in the last 24 hours, we have reached a total of 79,931 cases with 2,640 deaths while 30,226 have recovered,” said Dr Chilufya.

Meanwhile, Dr Chilufya announced that a new testing laboratory had been opened in Southern Province at Macha General Hospital.