THE Ministry of Health has announced that the country has recorded 142 new COVID-19 cases with 23 related deaths in the last 24 hours.

And the Ministry of Health says it is discouraging that the few people who are wearing masks are not using them correctly.

Speaking during the daily COVID-19 briefing, Thursday, Ministry spokesperson Dr Abel Kabalo said of the 23 deaths, 21 were Brought In Dead (BID) and two were institutional deaths at the Levy Mwanawasa isolation centre, bringing the cumulative number of deaths to 199.

“We also recorded 21 BIDs in Lusaka; UTH recorded 20 and Kanyama recorded one. Among the cases, we have 80 patients currently admitted to our isolation facilities, 37 of these are on oxygen support, six patients are admitted to the intensive care unit, we also have some relief where 119 persons have been discharged in the last 24 hours across the country. This brings our total cumulative recoveries 5,786 since the beginning of the outbreak. In addition to the BIDs, we have recorded two new COVID-19 related facility deaths, one 85-year-old male with severe COVID-19 pneumonia and underlying hypertension and diabetes, one 52-year-old male patient with severe pneumonia. Both deaths occurred at the Levy isolation centre. This brings the cumulative number of COVID-19 related deaths to 199. The 21 deaths are yet to be classified,” Dr Kabalo said.

“Zambia has recorded a total of 142 new cases of COVID-19 out of the 724 tests done in the last 24 hours. And this brings the cumulative total of COVID-19 cases to 7,164. Of these 142, the distribution is as follows; 50 individuals screened through routine screening, in Lusaka we recorded 48 and then one came from Chipata and then one came from Solwezi. 42 individuals were identified through hospital screening; 16 were identified in Solwezi, 14 in Lusaka, seven in Ndola and five in Kabwe. 29 were contacts to known cases; 28 were identified here in Lusaka and then Kalumbila gave us one.”

And Dr Kabalo expressed concern over the reduced number of people using masks correctly.

“What we have noted unfortunately is that compliance levels among the public is very low and this will not help us to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. It is also disheartening to see that majority of people are not wearing masks and those doing so, majority are wearing them incorrectly. Social distancing again is not being observed, hand washing and use of hand sanitisers is increasingly becoming limited to our offices and shopping malls. This should not be the case. I therefore call for all individuals to take personal responsibility to protect themselves and others. With increasing evidence of community spread, you the public are now joined to the frontline of the Covid fight. Business owners must take responsibility not only for themselves but also for their workers and customers. Shop and restaurant owners must ensure that all their customers are appropriately masked before they enter their premises,” said Dr Kabalo.