HEALTH Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya says the country has recorded 160 new COVID-19 cases from 1,068 tests done in the last 24 hours, pushing the cumulative total since the outbreak to 13,112 cases.

And the last 24 hours recorded three brought in dead cases, all from the Copperbelt.

Meanwhile, Dr Chilufya has thanked Lumwana Mine and First Quantum Limited for assisting government in the COVID-19.

Speaking during the routine COVID-19 update, Dr Chilufya said 44 patients were still admitted in various COVID-19 facilities around the country, with five at Levy Mwanawasa hospital being critical and in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

“We in the last 24 hours managed to conduct 1,068 tests, out of these, 160 tests came out positive. These were from Ndola, Monze, Mkushi, Kitwe, Chililabombwe, Mpongwe, Chipata, Kalomo, Solwezi, Lundazi and Petauke. We also had Choma, Kawambwa and Chingola. Now in the last 24 hours, we also recorded three BID; two from Chililabombwe and one from Chingola. A glimpse into our COVID facilities countrywide, we have 44 patients admitted to our various COVID facilities; 25 at Lusaka’s Levy facility, out of these, 14 are on oxygen, five are critical and are in ICU. In other COVID facilities outside Lusaka are 19 with five on oxygen. A total of 52 patients have been discharged from our various facilities and if we look at the totals now, 13, 112 cases cumulatively out of 126, 938 tests done so far,” Dr Chilufya said.

And Dr Chilufya expressed gratitude to First Quantum Minerals for procuring a GeneXpert machine and a biosafety cabinet to facilitate testing for COVID-19 at Solwezi General Hospital.

”The government of his Excellency President Edgar Lungu places a premium on partnership in its quest to attain universal health coverage. In addressing health emergencies, this health partnership is even more critical. We have multilateral and unilateral private institutions that have worked with us in health system strengthening and that have come on board to support government’s fight against COVID-19. Today, we are happy to host First Quantum Minerals FQM to talk about this partnership,” he said.

“We place on record our profound gratitude to FQM for procuring a GeneXpert machine and a biosafety cabinet to facilitate testing [for COVID-19] at Solwezi General Hospital and because of that, now we have 24 testing facilities in the country. One of the testing facilities is at the public hospital here at Solwezi General Hospital and the other one at FQM…clinic. We want to thank you for your statement of intent to even put up a PCR machine and further, we want to thank Lumwana Mine for their statement of intent to procure diagnosis equipment for isolation sites at Kalumbila, yet another private mine institution that has set up a private COVID facility.”

Dr Chilufya said the initiative by the two mines was a huge benchmark in the fight against COVID-19 as testing remained critical in the fight against the pandemic.

“North Western Province stands out as a benchmark in promoting private public partnerships as we fight COVID-19. Today, we celebrate two mining companies that have put in their best in the fight against COVID-19 – FQM and Barrick Lumwana. Confirming the status of COVID-19 remains critical in guiding how we proceed with the response, so diagnosis and research remain important pillars. Through the support of FQM and Lumwana, we now have a very strong response in North Western Province. This has added to the arsenal of testing. In addition to the 23 testing sites in the country, we have FQM now testing using GeneXpert and they will be investing in PCR machines. We congratulate them for that,” said Dr Chilufya.