MINISTRY of Health Permanent Secretary for Technical Services Dr Kennedy Malama says Zambia has recorded 68 new COVID-19 cases out of 847 tests done.

And Dr Malama says the country has recorded two COVID-19 related deaths in the last 24 hours.

Meanwhile, Dr Malama says three million Zambians are at a higher risk of infection due to old age or underlying conditions.

Speaking during the routine COVID-19 briefing, Wednesday, Dr Malama said the cumulative figure currently stood at 13,887.

“In the last 24 hours, Zambia recorded a total of 68 new COVID-19 cases reported in 12 districts. These districts include Lusaka, 39, Kitwe, 12, Solwezi, five, Ndola, two, Livingstone, two, Chipata, two, Zimba, one, Petauke, one, Monze, one, Kazungula, one, Kalomo, one and Choma, one. These new cases in the last 24 hours are among the 847 tests we conducted as a country giving us a positivity of eight percent. The cumulative number of cases in the country is therefore 13,887,” Dr Malama said

“The new cases include in broad terms 37 which we identified through health care facility screening in which 11 are from Kitwe and 26 in Lusaka. We also had 24 which we detected through routine screening coming from Choma, one, Kalomo, one, Kazungula, one, Kitwe, one, two from Livingstone, nine from Lusaka, one Monze, two Ndola, five Solwezi and one Zimba. We also had five contacts to known cases, these are Chipata two, Lusaka three. We also had one health care worker who tested positive from Petauke Eastern Province.”

And Dr Malama said the country recorded two COVID-19 deaths in the last 24 hours which brought the total number of deaths recorded to 326.

“We had one BID within Lusaka who tested positive from COVID-19. On a sad note we lost an adult male patient in Livingstone Central Hospital due to COVID-19. He had co-morbidities. Following the two COVID-19 related deaths we are reporting today, the cumulative number of deaths in our country stands at 326 which we have classified as follows: 110 deaths due to COVID-19, 210 COVID-19 associated deaths and six deaths which we are reviewing pending classification and we shall update the nation in due course,” Dr Malama said.

He said 279 patients in Lusaka were discharged.

“Today, we have discharged 279 patients in Lusaka district. The number of patients still under health facility isolation country wide stands now at 34 with 10 on oxygen therapy and these are disaggregated as follows: Lusaka has 19 patients with six on oxygen at Levy Mwanawasa isolation and treatment center, Copperbelt we have seven patients, Ndola Teaching Hospital has got four, two on oxygen, Kitwe has three with two on oxygen, North Western Province we have two at Solwezi General Hospital; Muchinga we have two at Chinsali General Hospital; Central Province we have two at Kabwe District Hospital; Luapula we have one at Mansa General Hospital; Southern we have one in Kazungula. This therefore in summary gives us confirmed cumulative numbers of COVID-19 cases in the country 13,887 out of a total of 134,236 tests we have conducted since the pandemic was confirmed in Zambia with 12,869 recoveries, giving Zambia a recovery rate 90 percent and 326 deaths,” he said.

Dr Malama said three million Zambians were at a higher risk to COVID-19 by virtue of old age or having underlined conditions.

“The decision by His Excellency the President Edgar Lungu to relax some restrictions to enable economic and social activities was based on surveillance data that indicated an improving situation, particularly the reduction in positivity as we continue testing. Nevertheless it is important to amplify that this is not to say that COVID-19 outbreak is over. All of us remain at risk of the infection. We respond, we react to the infection to COVID-19 differently. We do have about three million Zambians who may be having a higher risk by virtue of old age or having underlying conditions,” said Dr Malama.

“That is the main reason we should not under play with COVID-19 where as the majority may mount an effective response at individual level in terms of humanity we still have many other Zambians who may not do so. So it is imperative that we work to protect all Zambians. Our positive [numbers] have been reducing but let us not take this for granted. As we have eased the restrictions, allowed social economic activities to run, people are interacting more and more, there is a risk of a surge. We need to ensure that within the spirit of the new normal adherence to the public health and social measures is maintained and are improved on.”