ZAMBIA has in the last 24 hours recorded 265 new cases of COVID-19 and 14 deaths out of 1,908 tests conducted, bringing the country’s cumulative total to 6,228.

And government says men are more affected by COVID-19, based on local statistics.

Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary in charge of administration Kakulubelwa Mulalelo said this at Saturday’s COVID-19 briefing where she also announced that the country currently had 34 people on oxygen support, of which three were in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) while 327 had been discharged.

Mulalelo explained that out of the 14 deaths recorded in the last 24 hours, 10 were brought in dead from the community while four patients died at Levy Mwanawasa University Teaching hospital in Lusaka.

“Zambia has today recorded 265 new cases of COVID-19 out of 1,908 tests done in the last 24 hours. This brings the cumulative number of COVID-19 to 6,228. The 265 cases include: 114 cases identified through health care facility screening, in Lusaka 63, Chingola 28, Ndola 14, Chililabombwe six, Chilanga two and Chinsali one. We also had 82 individuals identified from routine community screening; in Lusaka 33, Ndola 16, Kitwe 14, Kalumbila eight, Chililabombwe four, Kabwe four, Mpongwe two and Chingola one. We had 67 contacts to known positive cases; in Lusaka 53, Mansa two, Chingola one, Ndola one, two health care workers screened in Lusaka, and 10 BID cases in Lusaka. Amongst the active cases, we have 34 patients on oxygen support, three of whom are in the ICU. We have discharged 337 persons in the last 24 hours, this brings the cumulative recoveries to 4,130 since the beginning of the outbreak,” Mulalelo said.

“On a sad note, we have lost four patients in the Levy Mwanawasa isolation centre; two critical patients who were on the ICU and another two who were brought in a few hours before their demise after being managed at two central private facilities. The total number of COVID-19 related deaths in the last 24 hours therefore, stands at 14. The cumulative number of deaths associated with COVID-19 now stands at 165. Following the reclassification of the deaths in which the virus has been detected, it has been determined that 49 are COVID-19 deaths while 104 are COVID-19 associated deaths. Cumulatively, 11 deaths are yet to be classified. The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in the country now stands at 6,228 including 165 deaths and 4,130 recoveries.”

And Mulalelo said studies were been conducted to determine why most COVID-19 positive cases were in males.

“Our most common probable places of contact for COVID-19 has been social gatherings including church gatherings, kitchen parties, matebeto and funerals. We have seen that the male: female ratio stands at 68 to 32 and we ask ourselves, are men socialising more or are they adhering to public health measures? Our risk communication and community engagement team will be conducting a survey to answer these questions. The majority of cases amongst males are within the 35 to 49 age groups and for females, it is the 25 to 30-year-old age groups. Studies are in place to determine why it is such,” she said.

Mulalelo said the country was still grappling with the challenge of limited testing kits just like the rest of the world.

She also advised the public to continue adhering to the public health guidelines to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

“We have limited supply for testing owing to the global shortage. To this effect, the Ministry of Health through the coordination of the Zambia National Public Health Institute (ZNHPI) has developed guidelines aimed at timely detection of COVID-19 cases and stop further transmission of the disease in the communities. We have put in place testing facilities so that patients visiting health facilities are tested, symptomatic individuals are tested, contacts to confirmed cases who are high risk such as children, the elderly and those with underlined conditions and any others as determined by the health care specialists. Management of contacts and contacts of persons who are close proximity to a confirmed case for 15 minutes is also in effect. In terms of management at points of entry, in line with new national protocols, travellers entering through points of entry will be required to provide evidence of negative COVID-19 test from health authorities from their countries of origin. Tests must have been conducted during the previous 14 days. Business travellers and tourists will have restricted itinerary and must adhere to all preventive measures such as masking and social distancing. All other travellers must still maintain a 14-day quarantine,” said Mulalelo.

“Testing will still be conducted at points of entry at the discretion of health officials. Our call for action is that the community is part of the surveillance system. Kindly report all suspected cases to health facilities. If we adhere to all the preventive measures outlines, we will prevent any transmission of disease.”