HEALTH Minister Dr Jonas Chanda has announced that the country has in the last 24 hours recorded 1,796 new COVID-19 cases out of 9,577 tests conducted, bringing the cumulative number of cases to 36,074.

And Dr Chanda says 312 COVID-19 patients are currently in admission, out of which 202 were on oxygen therapy.

This is according to a ministerial statement on COVID-19 in Zambia issued on Saturday.

Dr Chanda stated that the country had unfortunately lost 10 people to COVID-19 related conditions in the last 24 hours.

“Today, 1,796 positive cases among 55 Districts were detected out of 9,577 tests done in the last 24 hours. The cases were detected among the following categories: Healthcare facility screening (950); Routine screening (688); Contacts to known cases (110); Pre-travel Screening (27); HCW screening (20); and Community death (1 Brought-In-Dead to Lusaka Chipata Level 1 Hospital). The cumulative number of COVID-19 confirmed cases now stands at 36,074. 312 patients with COVID-19 are currently in admission. Of these 202 [are] on oxygen therapy, 14 of whom are critically ill. The patients are among districts in all the 10 provinces,” he stated.

“A total 1001 persons are due for discharge today bringing the cumulative number of recoveries now to 25,106. We unfortunately lost 10 people to COVID-19 related conditions in the last 24 hours. The cumulative number of mortalities is now 537 with 203 classified as COVID-19 deaths, 331 COVID-19 associated deaths and three yet to be classified.”

And Dr Chanda reiterated President Edgar Lungu’s message for citizens to also utilise the local home based and traditional remedies as they continue to manage the less severe and non-symptomatic patients at home, in addition to the five prescribed measures.

He further insisted on the need for people to mask up.

“Members of the press, countrymen and women, the COVID-19 is here with us for a long time to come. To curtail the outbreak, we have been left with little choice but to become more compliant to the public health measures as announced by His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zambia Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu. In order to prevent continued transmission of the virus, there is need to follow through the simple rules which are shared consistently: 1 Mandatory 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,” stated Dr Chanda.

“Allow me to focus on one measure today, masking up! Why should we insist on this measure? Masks are a key measure to suppress transmission and save lives as they protect the uninfected from getting the virus and prevent those ill from transmitting the virus. It is important therefore, that, when you’re sick, wear a mask until you know that you’re in the clear. Always wear a mask where there two or more people including yourself. Studies have indicated masks used by asymptomatic patients and family members have helped reduce secondary transmission by 79 percent. We can use this measure to stop continuous transmission of COVID-19 in Zambia.”