HEALTH Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya has insisted that it is 15 members of parliament who are COVID-19 positive.

And Dr Chilufya says the country has recorded 472 new cases and three brought-in-dead cases in the last 24 hours.

On Friday, Dr Chitalu announced that 15 MPs were infected with COVID-19 but Clerk of the National Assembly Cecilia Mbewe later issued a statement saying only five MPs were affected.

But during the COVID-19 daily update, Saturday, Dr Chilufya insisted that the statistics he gave out yesterday were accurate.

When asked to clarify on the number of MPs that had tested positive, Dr Chilufya said the figure he announced on Friday remained the same.

“The members of parliament that tested positive is as was reported in the last update,” Dr Chilufya responded.

And Dr Chilufya said the 472 COVID-19 cases recorded in the last 24 hours were the highest the country had recorded in a day.

“Zambia has in the last 24 hours recorded 472 new cases of COVID-19 out of the 1,851 tests done. This is the highest number Zambia has recorded in a day and it is the call to action for all of us to change direction in the way we do things. His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu has expressed concern at the complacence in application of public health and social measures in our various jurisdictions. The 472 new cases bring the cumulative number of cases that we have recorded in Zambia to 4,328,” Dr Chilufya said.

“Additionally, we have recorded three more BIDs cases, three more community deaths that have tested positive for COVID-19. And, therefore, that brings the total number of deaths associated with COVID-19 to 139. We had no facility deaths. We still have a number of patients in our various facilities who are very ill and we still have 15 patients who are on oxygen support. One is critically ill.”

He said the ministry would together with other stakeholders conduct a special community operation that would screen people in particular places.

“In the coming week, the Ministry of Health with other stakeholders in Local Government and Home Affairs will be conducting special community operations that will be looking at community screening and community sensitization in particular places. The operations will be similar to those we did in Kafue and in Nakonde to ensure that in particular places, particularly where we have seen the epi-centres in Lusaka and Copperbelt, so that we manage to take out all the positives and isolate them either in their homes or designated isolation facilities. This is important for us to stem the community spread that has hit us so badly,” he said.

Dr Chilufya announced that some public places would be shut down to stem COVID-19.

“From the various activities that we are doing in various parts of the country, in various institutions in various corporate houses, you will continue to see public health officers shutting down some facilities to stem community spread. There are some places where there are a lot of community interactions by virtue of the business they do and we have picked that some places of that nature, some places with high volume, with high traffic have people at the frontline recording positive. To protect the people who visit such places, you will hear progressively a number of places that will be shut down temporarily to protect the workers and public from COVID-19,” said Dr Chilufya.

Meanwhile, Dr Chilufya disclosed that about 3,000 health workers had been recruited and deployed.