MINISTER of Health Dr Jonas Chanda has announced that the country has recorded 745 new COVID-19 cases out of 7,903 tests done with 12 deaths and 1,167 recoveries in the last 24 hours.

Giving a COVID-19 update after touring Kitwe Teaching Hospital, Sunday, Dr Chanda said the low number of cases recorded today should not trigger relaxation because the positivity rate, compared to the number of tests conducted, remained the same.

“In the last 24 hours, Zambia recorded 745 new cases out of a total of 7,903 tests. I know the number of positives we have today is lower than what we have been reporting but that should not give us any comfort or relaxation because if you do fewer tests then you get fewer positives…The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases now stands at 43,337. Today, we have discharged 1,167 individuals bringing the cumulative number of recoveries to 33,960. In the last 24 hours, we have recorded unfortunately 12 new deaths countrywide. So 12 of our citizens died last night. The cumulative number of deaths now stands at 639 classified as follows: 261 COVID-19 deaths, 354 COVID-19 associated deaths and 24 deaths pending classification,” he said.

He said the country currently had 8,738 active cases with 474 admitted in heath facilities and 425 on oxygen therapy.

“We currently have a total of 8,738 active COVID-19 cases, of these, 8,264 are under community management while 474 are admitted to various health facilities around the country with 325 on oxygen therapy and 32 in critical condition. So what we note from there is that the majority of our patients, over 95 percent are being managed at a community level. Only those who really need to be in the facilities, the 474 are admitted to various health facilities. And what we see is that the majority of our patients, 325 out of 474, which is over 70 percent somewhere there require oxygen therapy, that is the difference from the first wave when we didn’t have these very high numbers requiring oxygen therapy and that puts the pressure on health facilities to provide more oxygen,” he said.

And Dr Chanda said there should be no stigma attached to COVID-19.

“There should be no stigma attached to testing positive for COVID-19, so testing positive for COVID-19 is not a death sentence, health services, our health staff are there to help you. In the same vein, I do however wish to also caution the spreading of unverified information of social media. Social media has become a conduit for negative and fake news concerning COVID-19, protect your mental health by approaching social media mindfully, set limits for your social media news and pay attention to the effect it is having on your wellbeing,” said Dr Chanda.