Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary for Technical Services Dr Kennedy Malama says 73 new COVID-19 cases have been recorded out of 982 tests conducted in the last 24 hours.

Giving a COVID-19 update, Sunday, Dr Malama said the cumulative number of cases in the country now stood at 13,539.

“In the last 24 hours, Zambia recorded a total of 73 new COVID-19 cases. These were reported from 10 districts including; Lusaka, Kasama, Chinsali, Livingstone, Kalomo, Mazabuka, Mungwi, Monze, Kabwe and Nakonde. The new cases are among the 982 tests which we conducted in the last 24 hours. This gives us a positivity of 7.5 percent. A similar picture in the last two weeks. In other words, what we are seen as a country is a lower positivity relatively of less than 10 [percent] now compared to what we used to see, around or above 20. This is a good sign and we should ensure that we don’t relent on this. The cumulative number of cases in the country is now 13,539,” he said.

Dr Malama said no deaths had been recorded in the last 24 hours and that the cumulative number of deaths linked to COVID-19 remained at 312.

He said 47 patients were currently under health facility isolation.

“27 are at our Levy Mwanawasa Isolation and Treatment Facility. Of these, seven are on oxygen therapy, two critical and are in the intensive care unit and one of them is on a mechanical ventilator. Outside Lusaka we have a total of 20 patients, with six on oxygen therapy. In terms of recoveries as a country we now stand at 12,260,” Dr Malama said.

He reminded Zambians to up their game and abide by public health measures, saying the country risked having an upsurge of COVID-19 cases if some of the risk behaviours in the communities continued.

“It is also important to remind the Zambian people that we need to up the game as we mount a response towards COVID-19 within the new normal. Zambia may risk an upsurge of COVID-19 if some of the risk behaviours we are seen in our communities continue. We may see an escalation in the number of people getting COVID-19 going by what we have already seen in terms abusing the window which has been provided in terms of patronizing bars, funerals, parties and weddings, among other social functions without or with minimal observation of public health measures which have been outlined,” said Dr Malama.

“It is therefore our clarion call to all Zambians to mask up when in public. Time will come when the government through the Ministry of Health is going to advise its people that we stop masking up when you are in public. For now masking up remains a high impact intervention in preventing contraction and further transmission of COVID-19. We need to ensure that we maintain physical distance, wash hands frequently or use hand sanitizers. We should avoid crowded places and stay at home if necessary. We need to seek medical attention earlier if symptomatic. Following these golden rules will therefore allow us to quickly take control of the outbreak as a country and further relaxation of all public health measures. And that time can be soon for Zambia.”