ZAMBIA has recorded 197 COVID-19 cases out of 844 tests conducted in the last 24 hours, bringing the cumulative total to 3,583.

Health Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya said this when he officiated at the inauguration ceremony for the new National HIV/AIDS/STI/TB Council board at Lusaka’s Radisson Blu Hotel, Wednesday.

At the same event, Dr Chilufya unveiled Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNPHI) director Professor Victor Mukonka as new board chairperson for the National Aids Council.

Updating the nation on the latest COVID-19 cases, Dr Chilufya said the country had continued to detect new cases with increased severity and associated deaths.

“Today, for avoidance of doubt, we have recorded 197 tests, representing a positivity of 23 per cent. The new cases were detected out of 844 tests conducted bringing the cumulative to 3,583. The number of deaths in the last 24 hours remains at zero and we have continued to strengthen surveillance at our points of entry. At KK International Airport, we did record one case and we continue to record cases of truck drivers, we did record one truck driver screened in Lusaka. Itezhi-tezhi has also recorded six cases in the last 24 hours. We’ve also seen the routine screening continue to record new cases. So in total, the number of COVID-19 cases is 3,583 cumulatively. We’ve discharged 49 cases in the last 24 hours and that brings the total number of discharges to 1,677,” Dr Chilufya said.

Dr Chilufya said 19 people were on oxygen support while three of these were in a critical condition.

“In Chikankata, 40 cases were recorded; Lusaka recorded 37 cases while Livingstone recorded three cases. 78 people identified through healthcare facility screening in Lusaka, 27 were contacts to known positive cases in: Lusaka 20, Itezhi-tezhi six and one in Choma, eight people identified following community alerts in Lusaka and Livingstone. Then two healthcare workers screened in Lusaka, one was an incoming traveller screened at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport and another was a truck driver screened in Lusaka. Today we have 49 discharges bring the total recovered to 1,677, we have 19 patients on oxygen support with three in critical condition. The rest of the patients are in stable condition. Our case management experts are in place to help preserve the lives of all the patients. Fortunately, we have not recorded any deaths in the last 48 hours and so the total death toll remains at 128. The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases stands at 3,583 including 128 deaths, and 1,628 recoveries,” he said

Dr Chilufya encouraged citizens to continue observing the health guidelines to protect and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“Ladies and gentlemen, let us continue to discourage transit in adherence to public health measures. The corporate world participate through various donations, they participate through supporting the communities in their jurisdictions with masking up. Operation mask up calls upon the corporate world to manufacture masks and distribute in the communities to workers in their jurisdiction. Let us mask up, let us ensure social distancing, let us avoid public places and funerals in particular must be moderated, limited number of people, physical distancing, limited period, parties, weddings and so on must be moderated and must be approved by the public health institute,” said Dr Chilufya.

Meanwhile, Dr Chilufya unveiled Professor Mukonka as new NAC board chairperson along with his board members who include Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary for Technical Services Dr Kennedy Malama among other permanent Secretaries.

Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zambia chairperson Hellen Mwale has also been appointed to serve as a member of the NAC board.