Minister of Health Dr Jonas Chanda has announced that this year’s Women’s day and Youth Day celebrations will be held virtually in order to avoid large gatherings which could lead to a super spread of COVID-19.

In a statement, Dr Chanda also announced that Zambia recorded 410 new COVID-19 cases out of 4,718 tests done in the last 24 hours.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the COVID-19 situation update for the last 24 hours is as follows: We recorded 410 new cases out of 4,718 tests conducted (9 percent positivity). Of these positive samples, 274 were collected in the last 24-72 hours while 136 were older than 72 hours. The new cases reported by province are broken down as follows: 105 Copperbelt, 88 North-western, 76 Lusaka, 45 Eastern, 29 Luapula, 26 Central, 21 Southern, I I Northern, and 9 Muchinga. This brings the cumulative number of confirmed cases recorded to date to 82,421,” he stated.

He added that the country has recorded eight deaths and 334 recoveries in the last 24 hours.

“Unfortunately, we recorded eight new deaths from Copperbelt three, Luapula two, Lusaka two and Eastern one provinces. The cumulative number of COVID-19 related deaths recorded to date now stands at 1,124. The deaths are classified as 619 COVID deaths and SOS COVID-19 associated deaths. We recorded a combined total of 334 recoveries from both the COVID-19 isolation facilities and home management, bringing the cumulative number of recoveries to 77,943 (95 percent). We currently have 3,354 active cases, of whom 3,153 (94 percent) are under community management and 201 (6 percent) ate admitted to our COVID-19 isolation facilities. Among those admitted, 144 (72 percent) are on Oxygen therapy and 27 (13 percent) are in critical condition,” Dr Chanda stated.

And Dr Chanda said he is confident that the infrastructure investments made in the health sector will help in improving patient outcomes.

“We are confident that our investment into infrastructure such as the multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) facility at Kitwe Teaching Hospital, the planned construction of an Oxygen Plant on the Copperbelt, as well as the deployment of infectious diseases (ID) specialists and other health workers around the country, will increase our capacity significantly and also further improve patient outcomes. Additionally, it is vital that we care for the caterers, our health workers in health facilities, some of whom have been infected or even succumbed to the COVID-19 infection. We also continue to work on establishing our High Dependency Units (HDU) in the districts so as to reduce the demand on our Intensive Care Units (ICU) as well as continually enhancing our community interventions,” stated Dr Chanda.

He emphasised that the country should maintain the trajectory of reduced cases despite the threat of a third wave as the cold season approaches.