HEALTH Minister Dr Jonas Chanda says the country has recorded 524 new COVID-19 cases and 11 deaths in the last 24 hours.

In a statement, Monday, Dr Chanda said the cumulative cases now stood at 75,027.

“We recorded 524 new cases out of 5,799 tests conducted. This is a marked reduction in our daily positivity rate compared to an average of 15 percent that we have recorded over the past three weeks. The cases were reported from the following provinces: 172 Copperbelt, 135 Lusaka, 75 Luapula , 52 Eastern, 33 Southern, 21 Western, 15 Northern, Muchinga, six North-western, and four Central. This brings the cumulative number of confirmed cases recorded to date to 75,027,” read the statement.

“We recorded 11 deaths, from North-western five, Copperbelt two, Luapula two and Lusaka two provinces. The cumulative number of COVID-19 related deaths recorded to date now stands at 1,031. The deaths are classified as 556 COVID deaths and 475 COVID-19 associated deaths. We report an additional 984 discharges from both COVID-19 isolation facilities and home management, bringing the cumulative number of recoveries to 68,928 (92 percent). We currently have 5,068 active cases. Among the active cases, 4,748 (94 percent) are under community management whereas 320 are admitted to our COVID-19 isolation facilities. Of those admitted, 217 are on Oxygen therapy and 36 are in critical condition.”

He said the ministry was scheduled to deploy critical care and infectious disease specialists to a number of provinces.

“As we continue to provide specialised clinical care for our COVID-19 patients requiring hospitalization, we have noted significant improvement in patient outcomes. Additionally, a number of our patients have been observed to require extended clinical care, therefore, we are constantly expanding our capacity for clinical care in order to ensure we provide standardized quality of care in all our facilities. In this vein, we are scheduled to deploy critical care and infectious disease specialists to a number of provinces to support the teams,” he said.

Dr Chanda said his ministry, in consultation with the World Health Organization, drafted a technical guidance on enhancing health security at points of entry.

“The Ministry of Health, in consultation with the World Health Organisation and the US CDC has drafted the technical guidance on enhancing our health security at points of entry. We also continue to explore the available options for Public Private Partnerships (PPP) around the establishment of testing platforms at our various points of entry so as to avoid the importation of various and mutating strains of disease,” stated Dr Chanda.

“The Ministry of Health working in collaboration with our consortium of experts from both the public and private sector, held a successful meeting last week to map out the next phase of our genomic sequencing exercise. The consortium is currently running additional samples from around the country and we expect results by the end of the week. The Ministry of Health is this week scheduled to engage with the Electoral Commission of Zambia to chart the way forward in preparations for this year’s campaigns and general election.”