MINISTRY of Health spokesperson Dr Abel Kabalo has announced that Zambia has recorded 229 new cases of COVID-19 with three deaths in the last 24 hours.

And Dr Kabalo says the overall positivity rate of specimens received daily in COVID-19 testing laboratories has risen from 1.8% to over 25% in one month

Speaking during the COVID-19 briefing, Wednesday, Dr Kabalo noted that among the three deaths was a brought in dead (BID) from Itezhi-tezhi and two patients from the Levy Mwanawasa isolation centre.

“Today Zambia has recorded 229 new cases of COVID-19 out of the 1,112 tests that were done. This brings our cumulative total number of Covid cases to 7,022. Of these 229 cases, 84 are individuals screened through our hospital screening. In Lusaka we recorded 52 from our institutions, in Ndola we recorded 25, Solwezi gave us five and then Kitwe gave us two. Of these 229, 73 are individuals identified through routine screening and Lusaka contributed 46 of these and Ndola 27. Sixty three were contacts to known cases, Lusaka gave us 61, Ithezh-itezhi one and Kalulushi one. Seven individuals identified through healthcare worker screening in Lusaka and then we also had a BID reported amongst these that is from Ithezh-itezhi. Among the active cases that we have in our facilities, 84 patients are currently admitted to our isolation facilities then 45 of these are on oxygen support. Then six patients are in critical condition with five admitted to the intensive care unit. We have discharged 558 persons in the last 24 hours across the country and this brings the cumulative recoveries to 5,667 since the beginning of the outbreak in Zambia,” he said.

“We have unfortunately, and on a sad note recorded three new Covid related deaths, one female adult from Ithezh-itezhi as I earlier mentioned who came in as a BID, one 43 year old female who was admitted to a private facility and one 71 year old known hypertensive who was being treated for severe pneumonia at our levy Mwanawasa isolation centres. This therefore brings the cumulative number of Covid related deaths to 176. Following the reclassification of the deaths in which the virus has been detected it has been determined that 59 are Covid deaths while 116 are Covid related deaths and one death is yet to be classified.”

And Dr Kabalo however said the ministry was worried about the poor adherence to COVID-19 prevention measures as the infection rate has increased from 1.8 to 25 percent in one month.

“We recognise that the pandemic continues to evolve at both international and local level. We now have established community transmission with increased geographical coverage and unfortunately this is occurring amidst low compliance to public health measures, such as physical distancing masking up and hand hygiene,” said Dr Kabalo.

“The overall positivity rate of the specimen that we receive on a daily basis in our COVID-19 testing laboratories has risen from 1.8 percent to over 25 percent in a month. In addition, among the positive cases, the portion representing severe disease has also increased significantly. We will be launching the new national strategy to reduce COVID-19 infections in Zambia and this strategy will provide the guidance on the key interventions that the community must focus on in the current phase of the ‘epidemic'(sic) in this country, Zambia.”