HEALTH Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya the country may record up to 20,000 health facility admissions and close to 1,000 COVID-19 deaths per day if people continue flouting the health regulations.

And Dr Chilufya says the country has recorded 60 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours and zero deaths.

Meanwhile, Dr Chilufya says it’s unacceptable that only six, out of 156 members of parliament voluntarily tested for COVID-19.

Speaking when he rendered a ministerial statement to Parliament, Tuesday, Dr Chilufya said 60 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded in the last 24 hours.

“In the last 24 hours, we have recorded 60 new COVID cases out of the 369 tests that we conducted. Looking at the geographical distribution, 21 were from Kalumbila, 11 from Lusaka, and six (06) were from Mufulira. These 38 are contact to known cases. And for those from the Health Facility-based screening 11 were from Lusaka, four (04) from Kitwe and one (01) Sesheke. And under routine community screening in Lusaka, we picked six (06),” Dr Chilufya said.

Dr Chilufya said 16 patients had been discharged from Lusaka and Copperbelt centres.

“Mr Speaker, eight people have been discharged from the Levy Mwanawasa COVID Centre and eight from the Copperbelt COVID facility. In terms of the patients we have in admission, 18 patients are on oxygen support and two are in very critical condition. One (01) is a known hypertensive and one (01) has severe pneumonia which is a very common presentation in the cases of COVID-19. The rest of the patients are in a stable condition,” Dr Chilufya said.

“Mr Speaker that brings the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases recorded in the country to 3, 386 including 128 deaths and 1, 628 recoveries. In Zambia, the increase in the number of cases is attributed to the cold weather and the laxity in compliance with public health and social measures.”

Dr Chilufya said 97 of the total 128 deaths recorded as a result of COVID-19 were Brought In Dead.

“Mr Speaker, there is a sharp rise in the proportion of Brought In Dead cases testing positive for COVID-19 [disease]. 97 of the total 128 deaths that we have recorded associated with COVID-19 have been Brought in Dead. Of the cumulative deaths of 128, 31 are COVID deaths, 97 are COVID associated deaths. For the avoidance of doubt, COVID-19 deaths are those in whom the virus is detected but is not the primary cause of death. And for COVID deaths are those where the virus and its complications are the cause of death,” he said.

He said close to 1, 000 deaths per day will be recorded if people continue ignoring the COVID-19 health regulations.

“Mr Speaker, the modelling that we have done in conjunction with our partners has shown that figures will skyrocket if the poor compliance with public health and social measures continue. We project that with the current laxity we see, we may be recording up to 20,000 health facility admissions and may reach even 900 to 1,000 deaths per day if we do not change the way we do things as a community,” he warned.

Meanwhile, Dr Chilufya said out of the total 156 members of parliament, only six tested for the disease.

“As honourable members of parliament, we need to lead in this fight. National Assembly seats at the apex of political leadership and it is anticipated that their actions would advocate for improved community practices that would avert the crisis earlier. However, I have noted with dismay that out of the 156 members of parliament, only sis (06) tested voluntarily at the clinic despite having a dedicated team at the parliament clinic for the whole period that we have been in session. Only six tested for COVID-19. Mr Speaker, this is not acceptable. The importance of testing cannot be overemphasized. I, therefore, urge members of parliament to respond to the call to respond and advocate for this high impact intervention in the fight against COVID-19,” he said.

Dr Chilufya said more COVID-19 testing points would be set up at Parliament on Wednesday where all MPs and National Assembly staff would be tested.

“Government working hand in hand with the National Assembly is giving yet another opportunity to all members of parliament to get tested. We will set up increased COVID-19 testing points for all honourable members of parliament and National Assembly staff tomorrow Wednesday, 22nd July 2020 starting at 07:00 hours and we will do the testing the whole morning and part of the afternoon. And all the results will be released by close of business on Thursday. This is important to avoid members of parliament infecting family members and friends when they go back to their constituencies and also members of parliament falling ill and then intervening when it is late. I, therefore, urge all members of parliament to take advantage of this opportunity to know their COVID-19 status when travelling back to their constituencies. We need to lead by example,” said Dr Chilufya, adding that the pandemic had so far affected 44 districts.