Health Minister Dr Jonas Chanda says although the number of Covid-19 positive cases and deaths are significantly reducing the fight against the pandemic is far from over.

The country has recorded 436 new positive Covid-19 cases out of 4,634 tests conducted and three deaths.

In a statement, Wednesday, Chanda stated that the country has recorded one of the lowest numbers of deaths since the onset of the second Covid-19 wave.

“We have come a long way in our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. As we continue to note a drop in our daily new case numbers and mortality, the situation, in terms of case management indicates the fight is not yet won. We remain grateful to the private health facilities for their contribution to the Covid-19 response efforts, as they continue to take on the management of Covid-19 cases. Covid-19 remains a sore point as it is an unpredictable virus capable of causing major disruption to other sections of the health delivery spectrum and socioeconomic sectors as witnessed during the first and particularly the second wave,” he said.

“It is for this reason that the Ministry of Health, under the guidance of His Excellency President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, is committed to maintaining a balance by ensuring that even as we sustain the COVID-19 response, we simultaneously keep our eyes on our other health burdens, including maternal and child health, malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and non-communicable diseases, a number of which have been noted as key co-morbidities even in our COVID-19 centres. In addition, under the new normal the wheels of the economy must run and society must function.”

Chanda said the ministry has received a further 81,250 test kits procured under the Global Fund.

“Testing remains a critical element of our response as it provides a key indicator of the progression of the pandemic as well as serves to identify individuals that need to isolate or seek treatment thereby reducing the likelihood of further spread of infection and ultimately saving lives. In our continued bid to improve our testing capacity, yesterday we received 81,250 tests procured under the Global Fund that will last for over 6 weeks,” he said.

“We are expecting more reagents from Global Fund and Government resources, relevant Ministries and are working hand in hand to ensure that the success scored with the virtual celebration of International Women’s Day is replicated. The following is the Covid-19 situation update for the last 24 hours: We recorded Four Hundred and Thirty-Six (436) new cases out of 4,634 tests conducted (representing 9 per cent positivity). The new cases reported by province are broken down as follows: 142 North-western, 89 Copperbelt, 75 Lusaka, 56 Eastern, 32 Northern, 17 Southern, 13 Muchinga, 7 Western and 5 Central. This brings the cumulative number of confirmed cases recorded to date to 83,333.”

Dr Chanda said the cumulative number of confirmed Covid-19 cases recorded to date to stood at 83,333.

“We recorded fewer deaths one of the lowest since onset of the second wave, with three new deaths reported from Copperbelt, one; Lusaka, one; and Northern (0). The cumulative number of COVID-19 related deaths recorded to date now stands at 1,140. The deaths are classified as 627 Covid-19 deaths and 513 COVID-19 associated deaths. A Combined 394 discharges were made from both the COVID-19 isolation facilities and home management, bringing the cumulative number of recoveries to 79,556 (95 per cent). We currently have 2,637 active cases, of whom 2,445 (representing 93 per cent) are under community management and 192 (representing 7 per cent) are admitted to our COVID-19 isolation facilities. Among those admitted, 133 (representing 69 per cent) are on Oxygen therapy and 26 (representing 149 per cent) are in critical condition.”