HEALTH Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya has announced that 358 new COVID-19 cases have been recorded country wide out of 1,568 tests conducted.

And Dr Chilufya says the country has further recorded 10 BIDs; six in Lusaka and four in Ndola.

Meanwhile, Local Government Permanent Secretary Bishop Edward Chomba has urged market managers and masters to ensure that anyone who enters the market place is masked up.

Giving his daily COVID-19 update, Friday, Dr Chilufya said 358 new cases had been recorded country wide, bringing the cumulative total to 9,021.

He added that this reflected the wide geographic spread and increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.

“We have [further] recorded 10 BIDs, six in Lusaka, four in Ndola. This continues to reflect the wide geographic spread and the increase in the number of cases. Remember there are key economic activities that happen on the Copperbelt, in the North-Western Province and in Lusaka. If the community works collectively, if all individuals take individual responsibility, we will interrupt the spread of COVID-19 and protect the economy from further contracting,” Dr Chilufya said.

He said 74 patients were currently admitted to Levy Mwanawasa Hospital, and that three of those patients were in critical condition.

“The cumulative number of deaths therefore related to COVID-19 is 256. These have been classified as 73 deaths due to COVID-19 and 173 which are COVID-19 related. 74 patients are currently admitted to Levy Mwanawasa Hospital and three of these are in critical condition in our intensive care unit. Further we have 41 patients that are admitted to various facilities country wide. Some are stable and some are in critical condition. Therefore the cumulative number of cases now stand at 9,021, with 256 deaths and 7,586 recoveries,” Dr Chilufya said.

He emphasised the need to wear masks correctly, social distancing, avoiding crowded places, use of alcohol based sanitisers and hand washing.

Meanwhile, Dr Chilufya announced that in collaboration with the Association of the Indian Community in Zambia, the ministry would be presenting 20,000 cloth face masks to the Marketeers Association of Zambia through the Ministry of Local Government.

And Bishop Chomba urged market managers and masters to ensure that anyone who entered the market place was masked up.

He added that the Ministry of Local Government would also ensure that the disinfecting of the markets was undertaken on a daily basis.

“Our greatest emphasis is to ensure that the markets become a very safe place to trade from. And the best way to go, we are going to upscale the intervention of sanitising and making sure that the markets become safe. We will make sure that the disinfecting of the markets is undertaken on a daily basis, as well as, making sure that anybody who comes into the market place is masked up. If you don’t do that, you are not permitted to come in. So we are sending now a directive to market managers [and] market masters that anybody who wants to come in, either to trade or even those buying, they are not permitted to enter any parameters of the market unless they are masked up,” Bishop Chomba said.

Meanwhile, MultiChoice Zambia has donated PPEs worth over K2 million towards the fight against COVID-19.