HEALTH Minister Dr Jonas Chanda has announced that Zambia has recorded 468 new COVID-19 cases out of 5,535 tests done and seven deaths in the last 24 hours.

In a statement, Monday, Dr Chanda announced that Lusaka recorded the highest number of cases with 213 cases, but added that the positivity rate countrywide had remained low in single-digits for the second successive day.

“We recorded 468 new cases out of 5,535 tests conducted (eight per cent positivity), the second consecutive day that we have recorded single-digit daily positivity. The new cases were reported from the following provinces: 213, Lusaka; 87, Eastern; 54, North-Western; 53, Copperbelt; 33, Southern; 10, Luapula; eight, Northern; six, Muchinga and four, Central. This brings the cumulative number of confirmed cases recorded to date to 79,002,” Dr Chanda stated.

“Regrettably, we recorded seven deaths from Copperbelt (3); North-Western (2); Muchinga (1) and Northern (1). The cumulative number of COVID-19 related deaths recorded to-date now stands at 1,098. The deaths are classified as 599 COVID deaths and 499 COVID-19 associated deaths.”

He added that the country also recorded 589 recoveries both from COVID-19 isolation facilities and home management.

“We have recorded a combined total of 589 recoveries from both the COVID-19 isolation facilities and home management, bringing the cumulative number of recoveries to 75,087 (95 per cent). We currently have 2,817 active cases, of whom 2,571 (91 per cent) are under community management and 246 (nine per cent) are admitted to our COVID-19 isolation facilities. Among those hospitalised, 185 (75 per cent) are on oxygen therapy and 43 (18 per cent) are in critical condition,” Dr Chanda stated.

He further stated that the Ministry had established acute clinics in first-level facilities and district hospitals for screening mild COVID-19 cases, adding that there was still need for the country to heighten contact-tracing activities despite the reduction in the daily positivity rate.

“The preparatory work with our genomic sequencing has reached an advanced stage and we are learning more on the expected immunological response from a possible vaccination campaign as well as its effect on the overall epidemiology of the pandemic. Even as we continue to observe a reduction in our daily positivity rate, we are cognisant of the need to heighten our contact-tracing activities so as to break the chains of transmission, particularly in provinces that continue to record high numbers,” he stated.

And Dr Chanda added that surveillance had been heightened following the influx of grade eight and 10 learners.

“Additionally, in light of the influx of grade 8 and 10 learners into schools this week and schools being at capacity, our provincial teams have heightened surveillance. We will continue to closely monitor schools and higher learning institutions so as to maintain a safe learning environment. In collaboration with colleagues from the Ministry of Education, we are set to ensure the wide dissemination of the integrated guidelines developed from our consultative meetings,” stated Dr Chanda, who also announced that the Ministry had commenced cholera vaccination campaigns in Nsama and Shibuyunji districts, and will carry out similar pre-emptive campaigns in seven additional cholera hotspots,” stated Chanda.