THE Ministry of Health has announced that the country has in the last 24 hours recorded 125 new COVID-19 cases out of 454 tests done and six deaths, five of which were brought in dead cases in Lusaka.

And the Ministry says the Home Affairs ministry will deploy police officers to ensure that people are following COVID-19 prevention guidelines.

Meanwhile, the Ministry has announced that President Edgar Lungu has directed all non essential workers to work remotely to avoid contact among individuals in work places.

Speaking during the daily COVID-19 update, Monday, Minister of Health Dr Chitalu Chilufya said 104 persons had been discharged in the last 24 hours.

“Zambia in the last 24 hours has recorded 125 new cases of COVID-19 out of the 454 tests done. This brings the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases to 8,210. The cases that we have picked include 66 that have been identified through routine screening in Lusaka and Solwezi, Ndola and Kitwe. So 34 in Lusaka, 19 in Solwezi, Ndola, 11 and two in Kitwe. 23 contacts to known cases in Lusaka, five in Ndola, two in Chingola and 21 had been identified through hospital screening. 10 in Lusaka, eight in Ndola, two in Kitwe and one in Solwezi and three are health workers. We have recorded five brought in dead cases from within Lusaka and these are coming from the high density compounds. The deaths also include one facility death in Ndola. Therefore, we have recorded six deaths in the last 24 hours. At the moment we have 72 patients admitted to the levy Mwanawasa isolation centre, 30 of these are on oxygen support and two are critical and are in the intensive care unit. We have discharged 104 persons in the last 24 hours and that brings our recoveries to 6,802. Looking at the cumulative numbers, our deaths now stand at 241 of which 72 deaths are due to COVID-19, 132 are covid related, we are still classifying 37 deaths. The COVID-19 associated deaths are those in whom covid was detected but is not the primary cause of death,” he said.

Dr Chilufya said police and law enforcement officers would now be deployed to ensure adherence to COVID-19 guidelines and presidential directives.

“This morning, the President of the Republic of Zambia His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu addressed Cabinet and took note of the covid situation in the country and has directed, through Cabinet, immediate escalation in the response to stop the spread of COVID-19. The measures will include the following; the Ministry of Home Affairs will deploy police and other security officers in public places to ensure the enforcement of covid public health measures and presidential directives. Further, the Ministry of Local Government will aggressively and non compromisingly enforce adherence to public health measures and presidential directives particularly in markets, trading places and bus stops. The operation of bars and night clubs that has been seen to resume in some parts of Lusaka will be frowned upon and security agencies will be on board to ensure that these do not operate. We are not issuing licenses or permits to operate bars neither are we allowing restaurants to operate as bars and these are places that are, these are places were people are getting covid from. So I wish to remind the public that in line with the presidential directives, all bars and night clubs still remain closed,” said Dr Chilufya.

“The President has also directed through, Cabinet, that all non essential workers will operate remotely in order to minimise personal interaction in work places. The Secretary to Cabinet will issue guidelines on this score and the public is encouraged to use alternative non contact modes of conducting business activities including electronic transactions. The President has further stressed the need to preserve commerce and trade even as the President encourages non contact in work places, he encourages leveraging of technology to ensure continuity in service delivery and non disruption in trade and commerce. So that delicate balance is emphasized.”

Meanwhile, ZNHPI executive director Dr Victor Mukonka emphasised the need for members of the public to adhere to laid down guidelines and avoid crowds as has been observed where people are patronizing bars indiscriminately.

He added that the current windy weather could lead to an increase in cases as particles can quickly move from one place to far distances.

And Ministry of Health permanent secretary Dr Kennedy Malama urged people to use masks properly by ensuring that both the nose and mouth are covered and not removing them while talking.