Health Minister Dr Jonas Chanda says Zambia has recorded 865 new COVID-19 cases out of 6,759 tests conducted and 18 deaths in the last 24 hours.

Meanwhile, the Judiciary has announced the passing of Supreme Court Justice Elizabeth Muyovwe, who died at Maina Soko Military Hospital on Sunday morning.

In a statement, Sunday, Dr Chanda announced that out of the 865 cases recorded, 439 currently required admission to COVID-19 isolation facilities.

He said Among those currently admitted, 292 WEre on oxygen therapy while 40 were in critical condition.

“As we continue to observe the trends around the globe, we have noted with some hope the decreased number of cases being recorded in the west and closer to home in South Africa. Lusaka and other places also seeing reduction of patients admitted in different health facilities. We are hopeful and cautiously optimistic about this reduction in the number of admissions to our facilities, not only in Lusaka which at one point had a heavy caseload, but in other provinces as well, and we are determined to maintain our focused approach to end COVID-19. However, we remain cautious and urge our partners, our health workers and the public not to relent in the fight against the covid-19 pandemic so that we do not reverse the gains we have made to date. We remain indebted to our dedicated clinical teams and other health facility staff for their tireless efforts to safeguard the health and wellbeing of our people. In order to ensure that we maintain standardized quality of care for Covid-19 patients throughout the country, we have set up a weekly rotational schedule for critical care management teams to build up capacity of staff capable of handling Covid-19 patients across the provinces,” Dr Chanda said.

“We have also disseminated the revised guidelines on testing for Covid-19 as well as home-based management of Covid-19. 19 patients to stakeholders to ensure conformity of our response. These guidelines are also available online. Today, we report Eight Hundred and Sixty-Five (865) new cases out of a total of 6.759 tests performed (representing a12.8% positivity). The new cases by province are broken down as follows: 229 LUsaka, 123 Southern, 105 Central, 104Copperbelt. 81 Northen, 74 North-western, 63 Eastern, 51 Muchinga,20 Luapula, and 15 Western. In order to provide a more representative picture of the prevailing epidemiological situation in the country, we have further segregated the new cases by the date of sample collection. In this regard, of the 865 new cases, 549 (63%] were sampled in the last 24-48 hours, while the remaining 316 positive samples were older than 48 hours. The cumulative number of confirmed cases recorded to date now stands at 54,217. On a sad note, we continue to record a number of COVID-19 related mortalities daily; in the last 24 hours, we recorded eighteen (18) new Covid-19 related deaths from Copperbelt six, Northern four, Southern four, Lusaka two, Eastern one, and Western zero.”

He said the Ministry had recommended the re-opening of schools as the requisite COVID-19 prevention measures had been put in place to ensure the safety of children and teachers.

“We are hopeful that our efforts to increase clinical care management capacity will lead to reduced number of mortalities. We also continue to urge all those who test positive for Covid-19 and are symptomatic to seek medication early. The cumulative number of COVID-19 related deaths recorded to date is now 763, classified as:337 Covid-19 deaths: 400 Covid-19 associated deaths; and26 deaths pending classification. In the last 24hours, we have discharged 2,557 recovered patients from both community management and our isolation facilities. bringing the cumulative number of recoveries to 48,000. We currently have 5,454 active cases around the country. of these, only 439 (8%) currently require admission to our COVID-19 isolation facilities. Among those currently admitted. 292 are on oxygen therapy and 40 are in critical condition,” stated Dr Chanda.

“I am pleased to inform you that the Zambian government under the leadership of his Excellency the President, Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu, has through the Ministry of Health in collaboration with the District Education Board Secretary, the Provincial Education Officers and District Education Officers successfully carried out the readiness assessment for the re-opening of our schools nationwide. As previously stated, we will only recommend the re-opening of schools which have put in place the requisite Covid-19 prevention measures to ensure the safety of our children and our teachers. We have identified a number of interventions in a multisectoral approach for those schools that were determined to not be ready to reopen. A report of the findings will be availed in tomorrow’s brief. We will remain vigilant in our efforts to ensure these standards are maintained throughout the team.”

Meanwhile, the Judiciary has announced the passing of Justice Muyovwe.

According to a death notice, Sunday, Judiciary Public Relations Officer Kalumba Chisambisha- Slavin advised mourners to observe COVID-19 guidelines.

“I regret to inform you of the passing of Hon. Lady Justice Elizabeth Muyovwe, Hon. Judge of the Supreme Court. Hon. Lady Justice Muyovwe aged 64 passed away this morning (Sunday) at 06:30 hours at Maina Soko Military Hospital in Lusaka. Mourners are advised to observe COVID-19 guidelines. Further details on the funeral arrangements shall be communicated in due course,” stated Kalumba.