HEALTH Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya says 157 new COVID-19 cases have been recorded in the last 24 hours, bringing the cumulative total to 9,343.

And three COVID-19 survivors have urged Zambians to take the disease seriously and to adhere to health guidelines, warning that the virus is real.

Giving his daily COVID-19 update, Dr Chilufya disputed the notion that the virus was for wealthy people, saying it-19 affected everyone, irrespective of their social status.

“Locally, there is belief that COVID-19 is confined to those who live in the affluent suburbs of our cities. Again, the situation on the ground is totally different. COVID-19 affects everyone irrespective of their social status or where they live. We are all at risk and must take the necessary precautions to protect ourselves and loved ones from this disease,” he said.

And Dr Chilufya said the country had recorded 157 new COVID-19 cases out of 1,069 tests that were done.

He added that 36 patients were on oxygen but in a fair condition.

“In the last 24 hours, Zambia recorded 157 new cases of COVID-19 out of 1,069 tests that were done. This therefore brings the cumulative number of COVID-19 cases in Zambia to 9,343. These cases again reflect the wide geographical spread. We continue to see cases from Lusaka, Copperbelt, Southern Province, North-Western, Central and Eastern Provinces. Today 72 patients are admitted to Levy Mwanawasa COVID Facility and of these, three are in ICU. Further, we see 36 on oxygen but they are in a fair state. The rest are in stable condition and not on oxygen support. If we look at the country picture, we see 33 patients in health care facilities across the provinces. Bringing our cumulative number of discharges to 8,412,” Dr Chilufya said.

The briefing also featured three COVID-19 survivors who shared their experiences with the virus.

Mary Nachande of Chawama Compound in Lusaka said she lost her appetite and her sense of smell and taste.

She added that she only regained her sense of smell when she started recovering.

Nachande said COVID-19 was real and asked Zambians to adhere to the health guidelines that had been put in place.

Another survivor also shared his experience with the virus.

“As soon as any person begins to feel ill or to see any symptoms of illness, they should not wait. They should rush to health facilities so that they seek help. My situation was that I had travelled out of Lusaka. When I came back, I started experiencing malaria like symptoms and I quickly rushed to take a blood slide which came out negative. However, I still insisted that this could be malaria because I had travelled out of Lusaka. I was given malaria medication which I finished but there was no improvement. I had to take the second one because I still felt it was malaria until I was advised by the doctor at the clinic where I was going to consider taking a swab,” he said.

“I went to UTH where I was swabbed. It was also discovered that my oxygen saturation was very low and that it was quite risky. So I was admitted immediately and put on oxygen. I remained at UTH while waiting for results for my swab, which came out positive. I was transferred to Levy Mwanawasa where I was put on oxygen and continued to receive treatment. There are some patients that are not here today who I was with in the ICU. It is very important for Zambians out there, if what I am saying can do something to change the attitude of one Zambian towards this disease, I would be the most grateful person. COVID is real. I have gone through it. Please follow the rules.”