ZAMBIA National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI) director Dr Victor Mukonka has announced that Zambia has in the last 24 hours recorded 11 new COVID-19 cases from 644 tests.

Meanwhile, Dr Mukonka has condemned some COVID-19 patients who recorded themselves dancing and having fun, saying the disease is very serious.

At the daily COVID-19 briefing, Tuesday, Dr Mukonka said of the 11 cases, eight were discovered at the UTH lab; one was from Tanzania, another from Isoka, four from Chirundu while three were from Ndola.

“In the last 24 hours in our laboratories, we have conducted 644 tests. Out of these, 11 have turned up positive as new cases. The new positive cases are as follows: the tests done in UTH, we managed to pick eight positive cases; the first one is from Tanzania, a truck driver and screened through our port health in Nakonde; the second was picked through the mass screening we are conducting in Nakonde from the community there; the third case is a health worker again who was picked through Nakonde through our screening exercise. We had one case from Isoka District Hospital, this is a patient who presented with chest infection and had a history of travel prior to onset of the disease; she had travelled to Nakonde. The other cases four of them came from Chirundu and two of them are truck drivers moving from Mozambique, one is heading to the Democratic Republic of Congo and the other one is destined for Kalumbila came through Chirundu Border,” Prof Mukonka said.

“At Tropical Disease Research Centre in Ndola, three tested positive; one case is from Solwezi General Hospital, a health worker, and then we had one case from Mungwi with a history of having travelled to Nakonde. We had the third case in Kasama and again had history of having travelled to Nakonde. This morning, we are not discharging any patient. All the patients in our COVID isolation facilities are in a very stable condition. So cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in the country stands at 772 including seven deaths. We have discharged 192 and we have 577 cases in our isolation facilities.”

Prof Mukonka said on Wednesday, health workers screened 432 people who came in from other countries.

“Yesterday, 432 people including 114 persons, our Zambians who were returning from South Africa, were screened and samples collected for testing. We should be able to provide you the outcome of those in due course once we have finished running them in terms of testing. In Nakonde, I wish to report that a team of 100 community workers we have trained and these will help us in managing the supervised home isolation and the mass screening. Through our Kenneth Kaunda National Airport yesterday, we had 116 arrivals of these were 79 Zambians who returned home from various countries including five from the USA, one from Brazil, one from Netherlands and 72 from India. They were screened and samples collected at the airport,” Prof Mukonka said.

Meanwhile, Prof Mukonka said government was aware of the video that had gone viral on social media in which some COVID-19 patients filmed themselves having fun.

“Yes, we are aware of the video circulating on social media. Again, I want to say the disease we are dealing with is a serious disease and we have seen that it has claimed a number of lives and quite a number of people who have fallen sick. We have put the necessary measures in the country to protect the Zambians from getting the disease and what we must remember is to identify those who are positive and isolate them, that stops them transmission from person to person,” said Prof Mukonka.

“Amongst that group, not all of them would be sick; you must remember what you see is probably around 50 per cent or so who have the disease and would be spreading it but will be asymptomatic. There is a percentage who would get mild symptoms and then a smaller percentage are the ones who get very severe and if not attended to and the ones who may die. So, what you see at times is we take them out physically to isolate, so that they don’t transmit infections. The situation happening in Chinsali, we have taken note of course they have been very cooperative, we didn’t expect that people will start exhibiting and showing those things. It is very unfortunate that we had to see that situation. However, I want to assure you that corrective measures have been done.”