THE Ministry of Health has announced that Zambia has recorded 213 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours out of 1,091 tests done.

And the ministry says Zambia also lost two COVID-19 patients in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths to 173.

Speaking during the COVID-19 briefing, Tuesday, Ministry spokesperson Dr Abel Kabalo said the two patients who had died were being treated for severe pneumonia at Levy Mwanawasa University Teaching Hospital.

“In the last 24 hours, Zambia has recorded 213 new cases of COVID-19 out of 1,091 tests done in the period. This brings the cumulative total of COVID-19 cases to 6,793. The 213 cases include 77 cases identified through health care facility screening in Lusaka. 62 were truck drivers identified in Nakonde and then 49 individuals identified from routine community screening. Two from the 213 came from health workers in Lusaka. Among the active cases we have 41 parents on oxygen support, five of who are in intensive care unit. We have discharged 408 in the past 24 hours in Lusaka, this brings the cumulative recoveries to 5,109 since the beginning of the outbreak. Sadly, we have lost 2 patients at levy isolation centre, both were being treated for sever pneumonia. The cumulative number of COVID related deaths now stands at 173 following the reclassification of the deaths in which the virus has been detected and it has been determined that 55 are COVID deaths, while 114 are COVID associated deaths, cumulatively, four deaths are yet to be classified,” Dr Kabalo said.

He said Zambia was experiencing an increased number of severe cases.

“The coronavirus is already moving rapidly globally and indeed within Zambia. The outbreak is growing at an exponential rate. Furthermore, we note an increased number of severe cases. According to data from countries affected early in the pandemic, about 40 per cent of cases experienced mild disease, 40 per cent will experience moderate disease including pneumonia, 15 per cent of cases will experience severe disease and five percent of cases will have critical disease. A similar picture is presenting in Zambia with the majority of those presenting severe symptoms having underlying conditions such as diabetes and hypertension. Currently, there are no therapeutics or vaccines proven to treat or prevent COVID although there are major efforts among experts working urgently to coordinate the rapid development of medical counter measures,” said Dr Kabalo.

“What is of our best date in stemming the current trajectory of increased transmission, severity and fatality, the government of the Republic of Zambia through its Ministry of Health has clearly stated the factors exacerbating the outbreak which include; poor adherence to stipulated public health measures. Most people continue to ignore wearing masks in public, many members continue to gather in large numbers at social functions without adequate physical distances, lack of compliance with known and unknown medical conditions that make them vulnerable to severe disease and poor health outcomes. The multi sectoral response continues to implement and enforce measures, however, if the public cannot adhere, winning this battle and fight against COVID-19 will be very difficult. The clarion call, therefore, is that every individual should make it a personal drive of COVID-19 prevention, taking care of themselves and their loved ones, embracing humanity through humanism and then together we can win this fight.”