MINISTER of Health Dr Chitalu Chilufya has announced that the country has recorded 1,241 new COVID-19 cases out of 12,383 tests, with 23 deaths in the last 24 hours.

In a press release today, Dr Chilufya stated that of the 191 patients admitted in various facilities, 108 were on oxygen therapy.

“Today, Zambia has recorded another high 1,241 COVID-19 cases and 23 deaths out of 12,383 tests conducted nationally in the last 24 hours. A total of 163 people have been discharged within healthcare and home care facility management in the last 24 hrs. However, with the new admissions, we now have 191 patients under healthcare management with 108 on oxygen therapy. The cumulative totals now stand at 26,567 cases, 464 deaths and 20,512 recoveries. Of the deaths, 159 are due to COVID-19, while 291 are associated COVD-19 deaths and 14 are yet to be classified,” he stated.

He expressed concern over the laxity in compliance to public health guidelines with people still patronising social events and public places without masks and observance of social distancing.

“The current disease pattern indicates speedy transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and quick progression of disease in especially persons with underlining conditions such as Diabetes, Hypertension, Immunocompromised conditions and even among obese persons. The success in this battle against COVID-19 remains in our hands as individuals and communities. The laxity in compliance to the prescribed public health measures is an exacerbating factor as we continuously increase chances of transmission in the night clubs, bars, restaurants, parties, weddings and funerals among other social events that we patronise. This morning I learnt with a heavy heart how many young and middle aged people were found patronising in social events and public places without any observation of mask wearing, hand hygiene of physical distancing. I must warn that in line with the Public Health Act CAP 295 of the Laws of Zambia and Statutory instruments 21, 22 and 62, the law will visit those flouting the public health regulations and action accordingly,” Dr Chilufya stated.

“Let us together with unity of purpose collectively fight the COVID-19: 1) Mask up in public; 2) Maintain physical distance; 3) Wash hands frequently or use hand sanitizer; 4) Avoid crowded places and stay at home; 5) Seek medical attention early if symptomatic.”

And Dr Chilufya expressed his condolences to the family of Chrispine Musosha who succumbed to COVID-19 today as he noted the increasing number of people dying in the community or brought in too late to the health facility.

Meanwhile, Speaker of the National Assembly Dr Patrick Matibini and Eastern Province Minister Malozo Sichone have separately announced that they have tested positive for COVID-19 and called on citizens to adhere to prescribed health guidelines.