ZAMBIA has recorded 72 new COVID-19 cases and one death, out of the 1,169 tests conducted in the last 24 hours.

And Health Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya says the cumulative number of cases now stands at 12,097 with 11,469 total recoveries.

Meanwhile, deputy leader of the team in charge of monitoring community compliance levels to health guidelines Zacchaeus Mvula says people in public places are not wearing the masks properly.

Speaking at a daily COVID-19 briefing, Monday, Dr Chilufya said a 56-year-old man who had high blood pressure died after contracting COVID-19, bringing the total number of deaths to 288.

“We report in the last 24 hours a death of a 56-year-old known hypertensive who after contracting COVID-19 presented a raised sugar level. We were doing a fresh diabetes diagnosis of diabetes in a known hypertensive. The combination of hypertension and diabetes is deadly even without COVID-19 but we have noted that during the COVID-19 outbreak that patients who presented COVID-19 are predisposed to hypertension. Today, our appeal is to the patients who are known hypertensive to ensure that you take your medicine for hypertension as prescribed by the practitioners of medicine,” Dr Chilufya said.

“Zambia in the last 24 hours has reported 72 new cases of COVID-19 out of the 1,169 tests done. We report a death of a 56-yea- old known hypertensive who presented this time with raised sugar. This patient was admitted into our facilities with those features, admitted to ICU, and succumbed. This is the reason why we are emphasizing the need for us to have our blood pressure under control and if you are diabetic, have your sugar under control.”

He said 34 patients were admitted to Levy Teaching Hospital out of which 14 are on oxygen while six are in Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

“The cumulative number of cases therefore after the 72 cases rises to 12, 097 cases. Out of the 72 cases, we picked 61 out of routine screening, 59 from Lusaka and two from Livingstone. Seven (07) are from contacts to known cases and four (04) are from Lusaka, three (03) from Chipata. Four (04) individuals were again screened in the community and out of these, two are from Chikankata and two from Lusaka. A glimpse into our Levy COVID Centre reviews 34 patients in our admission and out of these, 14 are on oxygen and six are critical in ICU. We further report countrywide, 23 patients and these 23 patients are admitted to the various facilities outside Lusaka and out of these, seven (07) are on oxygen therapy,” he said.

He said 362 patients had been discharged from hospital bringing the total number of recoveries to 11,469.

“We have continued to report progress in terms of recoveries and today we have discharged 362 patients from our care. And therefore, that brings the total number of recoveries to 11, 469. The deaths, with that additional death now stands at 288. This is aggregated as follows; 95 pure COVID deaths and 193 are COVID-19 related deaths,” Dr Chilufya said.

And Dr Chilufya said he was concerned that members of the public were more afraid of police than COVID-19.

“We should not be scared of the police [but] we should be scared of COVID-19. COVID-19 will terminate your life while the police will only enforce what is provided for in the law. The police are co-workers to ensure that we are protected from COVID-19. Therefore let us be focused. We have also noticed that the people who have underlying hypertension and underlying diabetes are predisposed to severe diseases of COVID-19. We have noticed a significant rise in deaths or mortality in people with underlying hypertension or diabetes. The combination is worse,” he said.

He also urged the police not to abuse people’s rights as they enforce the law on public health adherence.

“Our call to citizens is that let us adhere to public health measures. Our call to public workers that are authorized including the police, let us ensure that we work within the law to ensure adherence to public health measures. And let us ensure that as we do this, we do not abuse the rights of citizens and that we do not brutalize citizens. And to you as a citizen, abide by the public health measures. Bars have not been opened,” said Dr Chilufya.

Meanwhile, Mvula said community monitoring on adherence levels had revealed that people do not properly wear their masks.

“The way people are masking up is not so good. Sometimes you find that the nose is outside. Sometimes the masking is at the chin level. Sometimes people just go to public institutions like the malls and they carry the masks in the pockets and they only wear them when entering the mall. Who are we protecting? Are we protecting ourselves or we just want to show people that we have masks? Let us abide by the guidelines given, failure to which, we are not going to achieve what we want to achieve. Let’s fight COVID-19 together,” said Mvula.