CHINESE Ambassador to Zambia Li Jie says his government has donated medical equipment worth ¥2.3 million, equivalent to US$355,635.27, to the Zambian government to be distributed in four hospitals in order to aid in the fight against COVID-19.

And Health Minister Dr Chitalu Chilufya has warned that the new COVID-19 strain is ferocious, saying a two-year-old is one of the recently recorded deaths while a five month old baby was among those who were very sick in hospital.

Speaking when he paid a courtesy call on the minister, Ambassador Li said through mutual agreement, China had also sent a second team of 28 doctors to help in the fight against COVID-19.

“On July the 29th last year, President Xi Jingping of China had a very fruitful telephone conversation with His Excellency President Edgar Lungu and the two heads of state agreed that our two sides would continue to work together to support each other for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19. And China, based on the medical supplies, equipment, PPEs for four batches for the past period of time, we have decided to provide another batch of medical supplies to Zambia just now because we have noticed with great attention that Zambia is coming into a second wave of the occurrences of COVID-19 cases and in consideration for this urgent need, we have decided to offer a batch of medical equipment worth of 2.3 million RMB and they have been organised in a very efficient manner that they have already arrived here in Zambia and they will be dispatched, deployed to the four hospitals here in the country including Levy Mwanawasa Hospital, University Teaching Hospital, Ndola Teaching Hospital and Livingstone General Hospital. We are hoping that within the next few days, we will be able to coordinate with your colleagues so that they would go to the most needed places,” said Ambassador Li.

“This batch of equipment includes general ventilators, oxygen generators and other essential medical equipment. We hope that the facilities could go to the most needed places and also we would like to see that Chinese experience could also be taken, used, in this process of prevention and therefore the Chinese government, based on mutual understanding have organised another group of medical team, the Chinese Doctors who would be deployed here to work for one year to work together with the Zambian colleagues for the medical service to the Zambia general public. We have so far already supported the arrival of 28 Chinese doctors, among which 20 of them will be stationed here in Lusaka, four of them will go to work in Ndola and another four in Livingstone.”

And Dr Chilufya noted that the country had recorded 1,652 new cases in the last two days alone.

“Zambia today yes is battling a ferocious second wave of COVID-19, in the last two days, Zambia has recorded 1,652 cases. Yesterday alone, we recorded 850 new cases of COVID-19, today alone we have recorded 802 cases of COVID-19. We have recorded five deaths today and because of the aggressive nature, the different nature of this variant of the virus causing the second wave, we see that the age range is different. Amongst the deaths include a two-year-old child, we lost a two-year-old child to COVID-19, amongst those who are very sick today, in our hospitals with COVID-19 is a five month old baby and Your Excellency, if you look at the districts where these cases are coming from, a lot of districts in the country are involved. Already, in the last 24 hours, we had cases in Lusaka, we had cases in Kabwe, Choma, Ndola, Kasempa, Chikankata, Luangwa, Mkushi, Chingola, Kapiri Mposhi, it’s a generalised infection and all parts of the country are affected,” said Dr Chilufya.

“The number of cases are not only high in the community but we also have a lot of patients admitted to our facilities and this is the reason why this donation is timely. And so, already in the last 24 hours, currently we have 149 cases admitted to our various hospitals, out of these, 88 are on oxygen, so when we receive a donation of oxygenators or ventilators or oximeters, you are speaking precisely to the interventions that we are doing in our various hospitals to support the response to COVID-19.”

He said the coming of more Chinese doctors would push the levels of service delivery to another level as they would support teaching and support service delivery which was very significant towards the agenda for health for all which the government had embarked on.