PEOPLE’s Alliance for Change (PAC) president Andyford Banda says the fluctuations in the number of COVID-19 cases being released by the Ministry of Health is suspicious and not coherent.

Last Monday, Zambia recorded eight new cases from 521 tests, followed by 11 positive cases on Tuesday from 644 tests, before the country recorded 60 cases from 495 tests last Wednesday.

But in an interview, Banda argued that the fluctuating numbers indicated a lack of inconsistency in the way government was managing COVID-19 outbreak.

“Truth be told, the COVID-19 updates are quite suspicious, even if we were to draw a graph, the numbers would not make sense. It actually shows that there is inconsistency in the way this COVID-19 is managed, in the screening and the way the tests are managed; there is a lot of inconsistency. If there was consistency, numbers would show a constant curve on the graph; you cannot have zero and tomorrow you have 79,” Banda argued.

“You have to be consistent if you have to track what is happening; if you are going to have tests in the 24 hours, it has to be in the 24 hours; if you are doing tests every 72 hours, it has to be 72 hours. There is need to have an explanation in why things are being done like that. So, in as much as we have given the Ministry of Health support and encouragement to continue what they are doing, right now, we are not even sure whether they are doing the right thing because at some point, it was showing that this COVID-19, we have it under our control. But what has happened in the last few weeks has shown that we don’t even know anything. That is where the problem is.”

He wondered what criteria was being used to test citizens.

“What criteria are they using to test people? Today, two people, tomorrow 500, then the other day, 800! What criteria are they picking? Who are they testing? Are they doing randomly or testing people that are contacts of contacts? There has to be a scientific way, even when President Edgar Lungu keeps singing that he is ‘following scientific evidence…’ How about mathematically, which is also science, this thing has failed! Testing the number of hours and areas that are being picked, there is no consistency at all!” he complained.

“When the number was about six, we had a partial lockdown; we didn’t expect to move to almost 1,000! This clearly shows that government is not in control of the Coronavirus. Yes, we have to show solidarity because of this pandemic, but again, we are not going to keep quiet because these are people’s lives at risk! The numbers that are being revealed clearly show that government is missing it somewhere because we are yet to know how Nakonde became an epicentre. Kafue, also, the way it happened, it was suspicious also; something just happened and Kafue was on lockdown. We don’t know where next…is it going to be Kasumbalesa or is going to be Kazungula, is it going to be Chirundu? Where is government missing it? So, they need to check their systems and ensure they are up to-date so that we don’t risk people’s lives.”

Banda asked government to take the fight against COVID-19 seriously even when they were calling for people to adapt to the “new normal”.

“In as much as we have to adapt to the new normal, we need to understand that the coronavirus is still a dangerous disease. It attacks you today, you can die today or tomorrow or the other week. So, let us not be comfortable with the new normal; we still have to do our level best and ensure that this thing is put under control,” said Banda.