HEALTH Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya says there has been an increase in the number of COVID-19 reinfections.

And Dr Chilufya says the country has recorded 49 COVID-19 cases out of 6,157 tests done on Friday.

Speaking during a briefing, Friday, Dr Chilufya noted with concern the increase of patients recording COVID-19 positive for the second time.

“Zambia has noticed an increase in the number of COVID-19 reinfections. The numbers of people who are presenting with COVID the second time has gone up. The sense of security that you feel when you recover from COVID-19 is only for a minimal period, it could be as low as a month, it could be up to three months. Research is ongoing but cases of reinfections have been picked even just a month after recovery. We have also noted that cases of post COVID complications affecting cardiac pulmonary function have also gone up. Our clinics are picking a lot of cases of fatigue, swelling of feet or early signs of heart failure. So it is our appeal today that as we return to normalcy, we observe the public health measures as clearly stipulated in the Presidential guidelines,” Dr Chilufya said.

“We need to note the need for one to protect themselves whether one has protected from COVID-19 or not. The mandate on putting a mask relates to protecting yourself and to protecting your neighbour. So let us act in solidarity with members of our families, with workmates, with members of the community by ensuring that we mask up, even when we engage in any permissible congregate events activities, let us ensure the minimum is putting on a mask. So the mask mandate is the clarion call to action. The other fundamentals need to be equally observed. We will need to ensure that we upgrade our personal levels of hygiene and the community levels of hygiene. With the onset of the rains, we face a threat of a comorbidity with sanitation related illness such as Cholera.”

And Dr Chilufya said the country had recorded 49 cases out of 6,157 tests.

“Zambians today are called upon to act in order to avoid a second surge of COVID-19 and to avoid a Cholera pandemic. Not doing so carries a huge potential for a second potential wave, December, January, that would easily reverse the gains that we have posted in the past. In the last 24 hours, we recorded 49 new cases of COVID-19 out of a total 6,157 tests done. The cases were identified through health care facilities screening through community screening and through routine screening for contacts. These cases have been picked in Lusaka, Kitwe, Choma and in Ndola,” said Dr Chilufya.

“Further, we have continued to see patients in our health facilities that are COVID designated and these health facilities that are recording COVID cases today are as follows: Lusaka Levy Mwanawasa Hospital where we have six patients and at Maryberg Hospital in Kansanshi North Western Province where we have four patients. A total of 35 patients have been discharged from our various facilities, so as we speak our cumulative numbers now stand at 16,819 total cases reported from the time the outbreak broke out and this is out of a total number of tests of 289,227 tests conducted so far. Critically, we have a very high recovery rate of 15,862 with 349 deaths. This recovery rate should be sustained.”