HEALTH Minister Dr Jonas Chanda says Zambia has recorded 555 new COVID-19 cases and six deaths in the last 24 hours.
And Dr Chanda has urged citizens to prevent an anticipated “third wave” of the Coronavirus expected to emerge during the fast-approaching cold season by strictly adhering to health guidelines.
Speaking during a press briefing in Lusaka, Monday, Dr Chanda announced that the country had recorded 555 new COVID-19 cases and six deaths in the last 24 hours, pushing the cumulative number of confirmed cases recorded to-date to 79,557.
“We recorded 555 new cases out of 6,266 tests conducted (nine per cent positivity). This marks the third consecutive day that we have recorded single-digit daily positivity. The new cases were reported from the following provinces: 86, Northern; 83, Copperbelt; 72, Luapula; 62, Lusaka; 61, Muchinga; 58, Central; 55 Southern; 39, North-Western; 33, Eastern and six, Western. This brings the cumulative number of confirmed cases recorded to-date to 79,557. Regrettably, we recorded six deaths from: Lusaka, three; Copperbelt, two and North-Western, one. The cumulative number of COVID-19-related deaths recorded to-date now stands at 1,104,” Dr Chanda said.
“The deaths are classified as 603 COVID deaths and 501 COVID-19 associated deaths. We have recorded a combined total of 476 recoveries from both the COVID-19 isolation facilities and home management, bringing the cumulative number of recoveries to 75,563 (95 per cent). We currently have 2,890 active cases, of whom 2,658 (92 per cent) are under community management and 232 (eight per cent) are admitted to our COVID-19 isolation facilities. Among those hospitalised, 168 (72 per cent) are on oxygen therapy and 38 (16 per cent) are in critical condition.”
He said that the US government pledged further support towards the COVID-19 response.
“In the spirit of transparency and accountability, the Ministry of Health wishes to acknowledge the unwavering support received from our cooperating partners. In a consultative meeting held yesterday (Monday), our all-weather friend, the American government through the United States Chargé d’Affaires, Mr. David Young and the US CDC, pledged their further support towards the COVID-19 response. They will avail details in due course,” he said.
He added that the Cabinet memo to acquire the much-needed COVID-19 vaccine was still undergoing further consultation.
Zambia is aiming to join a growing number of African countries, who have already rolled-out COVID-19 vaccines, in a race to suppress infection rates and resuscitate economic activity.
“The Cabinet memo, co-sponsored by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Finance, is still undergoing final consultations and His Excellency President Chagwa Lungu will give direction on the matter. We are encouraged by the reduction in infection numbers, severity and mortality being recorded in countries such as Israel and the United Kingdom. Other than the anticipated reduction in morbidity and mortality, the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine also has an impact on socioeconomic status,” Dr Chanda said.
And Dr Chanda urged citizens to prevent an anticipated “third wave” of the Coronavirus during the imminent cold season by strictly adhering to health guidelines.
“The relief felt by many over the reduced numbers we as a country have recorded in the past week is understandable. Today, we have 237 patients in COVID-19 isolation facilities from highs of 510 a day at the peak of the second wave in January, 2021. Yet we must not take this as a sign to let down our guard. On the contrary, now more than ever, we should ensure that we sustain our efforts against the pandemic to prevent an anticipated ‘third wave’ in the cold season in June/July. It is imperative that our response is heightened throughout the country and that we are adequately prepared for this eventuality,” urged Dr Chanda.