MINISTER of Health Dr Chitalu Chilufya has announced that the country has recorded 1,029 new COVID-19 cases out of 11,855 tests done with 18 deaths in the last 24 hours.

During the COVID-19 update, Friday, Dr Chilufya expressed concern over the rising number of cases and called for a more collaborative approach in the fight against COVID-19.

“And like we said earlier on, our surveillance were used to pick out these numbers. 10 BIDs again a very high number and one community death and at various facilities, that brings our cumulative number of totals then to those we have tested positive to 25,236 and recoveries to 20,349, fatalities now stand at 441. The status of the epidemic in the country requires and very collaborative and coordinated response approach. We are all called upon at individual and collective level to act in solidarity and ensure that we do not spread COVID-19 or contract COVID-19,” he said.

“Zambia’s COVID-19 outbreak has escalated with Zambia recording the highest ever numbers of deaths and cases within 24 hours period.”

15 deaths were recorded in Lusaka out of which 11 were BIDs while there were four facility deaths from Chipata, Kitwe and Mbala

He also observed a moment of silence for Professor Babu and Dr Sakala of Chipata who passed on today.

Dr Chilufya further announced that public service workers would now revert to rotational and virtual working to reduce person to person contact in work places.

“Now, the government of the Republic of Zambia under the stewardship of his Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu continues to take up all government, all inclusive approach in the fight against COVID-19 and his Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu has directed secretary to cabinet, Dr Simon Miti some adjustments in the working criteria for workers in the public service. Now, what this implies then is that we have reverted to the rotational basis of working. So essential workers will be reporting for work and these workers that will be reporting for work will need to use virtual platforms to do meetings and public health guidelines will need to be observed maximally in the work place and those who are not working will be at home and they attend meetings virtually and provide service delivery virtually. So the catch is, service delivery will continue but using virtual platforms to reduce interpersonal contact,” Dr Chilufya said.

He further advised citizens to avoid super spreader events and crowded places as the weekend approaches.

“We are going into the weekend, super spreader events, parties, weddings, outings, we advise, stay home, stay home with family. COVID-19 is spreading very rapidly and you catch it just by taking off your mask as you take a drink,” said Dr Chilufya.