HEALTH Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya says Zambia is on the verge of a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic with 255 cases recorded in the last seven days.

And Beit-CURE Hospital, a charity, has hailed the Janus Continental Group (JCG) for making a US $100,000 donation which has been allocated directly to the hospital in Lusaka to support CURE International in its attempts to fight COVID-19 across Africa.

Speaking during the weekly COVID-19 briefing in Lusaka, Wednesday, Dr Chilufya warned that Zambia had started recording a steady rise in the number of COVID-19 cases.

“Zambia may be on the verge of a second wave if we continue seeing what we are seeing today. The threats we face today that predisposed us to a second wave include, pandemic fatigue with attendant complacency in observing prevention measures, wearing masks, washing hands and keeping that distance and reporting symptoms early. Pandemic fatigue, coupled with COVID-19 denial, are real threats to the COVID-19 control and predisposes the country to a possible second wave,” Dr Chilufya cautioned.

He noted that the epicentre had now shifted to the Southern Province.

“In the last seven days, from the time we gave the last update, we have seen a gradual, but steady rise in cases of COVID-19. We have recorded a total of 255 new cases of COVID-19 in the last seven days. This, in terms of the positivity, may be low, but it reminds us that COVID-19 is still with us, more so that the generalised spread is still evident. We see the epicentre shifting into Southern Province and it is important that we address these matters very aggressively,” he said.

He further noted that the country had recorded 59 new cases out of 4,168 tests done in the last 24 hours.

“Yes, we have recorded 255 cases in the last seven days and one death, but if we disaggregate and look at just the last 24 hours, we have recorded 59 new cases out of 4,168 tests done in the last 24 hours. The cumulative number of cases that we have seen today is 17,535,” Dr Chilufya said.

The Minister encouraged citizens to maintain high levels of hygiene cholera given the onset of the rainy season.

“We engage everyone to keep their environment clean, drink clean and safe water to ensure that we avoid cholera. Let us support the keep Zambia clean campaign and exercise program the President Edgar Lungu has embarked on as it will keep us from various challenges,” said Dr Chilufya.

And Beit-CURE Hospital executive director Frida Kabaso Phiri announced a donation of US $100,000 worth of Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), which had been shared with the Ministry, in the fight against COVID-19.

“Beit-CURE Hospital is a charity hospital, which is working with children and providing free services: orthopaedic, ear, nose and throat surgery to the children, and also reconstructive plastic surgery. All these surgeries are provided free to children from zero to 18 years. Plastic surgery is very expensive, a minimum of K70,000 per surgery. And for us to be providing that for free is not a mean undertaking. Therefore, the donation is very helpful. We deal with people that are not able to pay for anything, including COVID-19 tests, masks and this donation has helped us to provide tests for our patients who are not able to pay,” explained Phiri, when speaking to journalists on the side-lines of the COVID-19 update.

“It (the donation) will go a very long way, particularly the fact that we’ve also provided this to the Ministry of Health. We’ve got a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Health. We are a partner. When we got this donation, and Janus Continental Group indicated that they also require us to share this with the Ministry, we didn’t have any challenge because we realise that the bigger player in this prevention mission is the Ministry of Health and they will be able to reach far and beyond, even where we cannot reach as Beit-CURE. US $100,000 worth of PPEs, that’s a lot!”

The Janus Continental Group is an African conglomerate comprising of market-leading companies in the energy, hospitality and real estate sectors, comprising of Dalbit Petroleum, Belgravia Services Limited and Ndola Energy Company Limited.

The Group donated US $200,000 to CURE International and the Zambian Ministry of Health to support their efforts to increase the supply of medical equipment as they look to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The US $100,000 donated directly to Beit-CURE was used to procure various medical equipment and supplies for onward donation to the people of Zambia through the Ministry of Health.