HEALTH Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya says government has commenced the shutting down of COVID-19 facilities that have not recorded new cases in the last two weeks.

And Dr Chilufya says Zambia has recorded 38 new cases out of 3,842 tests done in the last 24 hours.

Speaking during the routine COVID-19 updates in Lusaka, Friday, Dr Chilufya announced that government had shut down the Chinsali COVID-19 facility, which had not recorded any cases in the last fortnight, among others.

“Government has commenced shutting down COVID facilities that have not recorded cases in the last two weeks. This is informed by the numbers that have reduced both at facility-level and in the community. Therefore, we have closed down Chinsali COVID-19 facility, we are closing down Kalindawalo as a COVID facility, Kazungula will be closing down. All the leaders of public health at sub, national-level should work in a multi-sectoral manner to identify alternative places in case of a surge that these facilities are returning to normalcy,” Dr Chilufya said.

“Further, government has received support from the World Bank of US $20 million, which in part shall involve construction of infrastructure at various points of entry; Kazungula, Nakonde, Kasumbalesa, Livingstone to ensure that we have dedicated isolation facilities, where we will keep patients, who will test positive on entry and also we will ensure that we do not disrupt routine health service delivery. Routine health service shall be protected.”

And Dr Chilufya announced that the country had recorded 38 new cases out of 3,842 tests done in the last 24 hours, including two deaths.

“The numbers continue to reduce and we did record 38 new cases out of 3,842 tests done in our various laboratories. Unfortunately, two deaths, one BID and one facility death involving a Chinese national at the Levy Mwanawasa. Again, our geographical distribution reflects the spread of the infection. As we see numbers go down, we continue to appeal to the public to ensure that we avoid risk of a certain change. Borders are re-opening, neighbouring countries are re-opening their borders. It means that we will have a lot of traffic entering the country; we will have a number of buses coming into the country, aeroplanes will be ferrying people into the country,” said Dr Chilufya.

“The call to action, then, is to every stakeholder in the public transportation system. We will ensure that at our points of entry, we escalate surveillance and disease intelligence activities, that is on all our levels. As borders open, an appeal to public transporters to heighten public health measures. On our part, we will heighten public surveillance to all parts of the country.”

Meanwhile, Ministry of Health Director of Infectious Diseases Professor Lloyd Mulenga said 17 patients were admitted in various COVID-19 centers across the country.

“What we have been seeing now is a reduced number of cases countrywide. As of today (Friday), we have 17 in various facilities, including some new admissions we had this morning. The majority of them are in Lusaka and we have also seen that few of them are being placed on oxygen therapy. Following your guidance, Honourable Minister, that we should have facilities now to tone down or reduce the number of admissions and dedicate these isolation facilities to other routine services. We have moved on, like even UTH, today, of the three patients, who are in UTH will be moved to Levy. However, one wing of Levy will still remain as an isolation facility,” said Prof Mulenga.