MINISTER of Health Dr Chitalu Chilufya has announced that the country, over the weekend, recorded a low COVID-19 positivity rate of 2.8 percent

And Zambia National Public Health Institute director Professor Victor Mukonka has called on members of the public to support community officers who will be on the ground to conduct the CIRO prevalence survey which has just been launched.

Speaking during the Monday COVID-19 briefing, Dr Chilufya said the country recorded 37 new positive cases out of a total of 1,772 tests done and one BID in the last 24 hours.

“We have recorded 37 new positive cases out of a total of 1,772 tests done in the last 24 hours. The cumulative number of cases is now 15,089 and we have also recorded one brought in dead case in Lusaka. The cases that have been picked have been mainly from Lusaka, Solwezi and Kalumbila. If we look at the number of deaths now, 112 deaths due to COVID-19 and 221 COVID-19 associated deaths and one death that is pending classification. Further, we have discharged 119 patients from our various facilities and therefore the total number of patients that we have discharged now has reached 14,306. In our facilities, we continue seeing less and less admissions and so in total, countrywide we have 20 patients who are admitted to our various COVID-19 facilities and out of these six are on oxygen,” he said.

He said the country had continued to record low positivity.

“We continue to see a downward trend in the cases of COVID-19 with positivity reducing and we did note during the weekend that we recorded low positivity as low as 2.8 percent,” he said.

He noted that an increase in the number of applications for gatherings and emphasised the need for health guidelines to be followed to the letter.

“We would like to focus on the public gatherings that we have been getting so many applications to approve. We want to give a blanket statement that in the words of His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, gatherings will be allowed in adherence to the measures that have been outlined in Statutory Instruments 21/22 and 61. Therefore it is important that we work closely with authorities to ensure that as gatherings happen there is no transmission taking place,” said Dr Chilufya.

He said 19,000 people would be randomly selected across the country to conduct the prevalence survey and two tests; blood tests and collection of nasal swabs, would be done.

And Prof Mukonka said the survey, which will be conducted countrywide, is important as will inform the magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

“The prevalence survey is a very important exercise we will be doing. Basically it is going to inform us in terms of the magnitude of the disease, the burden of the disease in the country. Sso it will be very useful information in terms of who is affected, what age group, the sex also it will show in terms of the geographical distribution. And we need this information because it will guide us in terms of the targeted interventions,” said Prof Mukonka.