MINISTER of Health Dr Jonas Chanda has announced that the country recorded 1,037 new COVID-19 cases out of 6,173 tests and 12 deaths in the last 24 hours.

During a COVID-19 briefing, Tuesday, Dr Chanda said that of the new cases, 202 tests were done more than 72 hours ago.

“The COVID-19 update is as follows; we recorded 1,037 new cases out of 6,173 tests conducted. Of the positive samples, 835 were collected in the last 24 to 72 hours whereas 202 were older than 72 hours. The cases by province were reported from: 225 in Lusaka, 134 Copperbelt, 132 North-Western, 114 Northern, 102 Central, 92 Southern, 86 Eastern, 71 Luapula, 64 Muchinga and 13 Western. This brings the cumulative number of cases recorded to date to 64,610. 12 new deaths were recorded, from Copperbelt five, Lusaka five, Central Province one and Northern Province one,” he said.

“The cumulative number of COVID-19 related deaths recorded to date now stands at 881…We recorded an additional 1,990 discharges from both home management and COVID-19 isolation facilities bringing the cumulative number of recoveries to 58,319. We currently have 5,410 active cases of which 5,015 or 93 percent under community management while 397 or seven percent are admitted tour COVID-19 isolation facilities with 267 on oxygen therapy and67 in critical condition. The age range of those admitted is between 19 years and 97 years.”

He further disclosed that the country had recorded a reduction in the number of COVID-19 admissions in isolation facilities.

“We have noted a reassuring reduction in the number of admissions to our Lusaka, Copperbelt and other health facilities across the country. The numbers of patients admitted have been reducing, however, we still have a number of patients requiring oxygen therapy, those who are in hospitals and facilities,” he said.

Dr Chanda said it was possible for the country to experience a third wave and urged citizens to ensure they focused on prevention.

“Science has shown, we are talking about a first wave that we had before, now we have a second wave which is a variant. It’s very possible that by June, when the temperatures are cold and with a mutation, we can have a third wave and that doesn’t also a fourth wave and a fifth wave because the nature of these viruses is to change, they mutate. However, for us, we don’t want to be caught napping by a third wave in May/June, we want to be prepared for that. But most importantly is prevention. So prevention is what we will be focusing on,” said Dr Chanda.

The Minister however noted that the country was not in a hurry to acquire the COVID-19 vaccines and was using science to ensure that a safe vaccine was acquired so that Zambians were not used as guinea pigs.