Health Minister Dr Jonas Chanda has announced that Zambia has recorded 323 new COVID-19 cases out of 3,432 tests and five deaths in the last 24 hours.

In a statement, Sunday, Dr Chanda stated the ministry was concerned with the public’s continued unsafe use of some concoctions and unapproved medications such as the veterinary medicine Ivermectin.

“This past epidemiological week, we have recorded a further reduction in our overall positivity from 8.8% to 8.2%. We remain committed to our testing strategy: the more we test, the more we can identify positive cases within the community and thereby break the chains of transmission. The number of admitted patients in Covid-19 isolation fatalities is at a low of 169, from the highs of c facilities for evaluation and appropriate management. Of notable concern are the continued reports being received of the public’s continued unsafe use of some concoctions and unapproved medications such as the veterinary medicine ivermectin. We continue to receive at our health facilities patients with organ failure such as renal failure resulting from uncontrolled used of these dangerous and unapproved medications. Some patients having renal/kidney and other organ failure end up in severe condition and requiring. Intensive Care Unit (ICU) management. The Ministry of Health reiterates its alert to the public that unapproved drugs and concoctions arc a danger to their health and safety and that it is of utmost importance to use only approved medications from legitimate sources,” he stated.

“In this regard, the Zambia Medicines Regulatory Authority in exercise of its regulatory capacity continues to enforce the statutory provisions and mete out punitive measures to those pharmacies and private health facilities abrogating the law. As we all know, Zambia shares very long borders with our neighbours. In times such as this, it is imperative that we continue to heighten our border health security so as to avoid importation of mutating strains of the virus and other diseases through pileless such as enhanced screening and diagnostic testing at points of entry. AS We continue to make strides towards obtaining Cabinet approval for the basket Or Covid-19 vaccines to be used in the Zambia Covid-19 Vaccine Program, we remain cognisant that vaccination is only one part of the intervention pillars, and therefore, we must not let down our guard with regard to the other aspects of our elegant-pronged response strategy.”

He said the country was monitoring COVID-19 vaccination implementation in other countries to inform the ministry’s decision making position regarding acquisition of a vaccine.

“Additionally, we are closely monitoring the performance of countries who begun the Covid-19 vaccination implementation earlier in terms of vaccine efficacy, safety and changes in the epidemiology. We also continue to rely on the results from our genomic sequencing efforts to inform Our decision-making. The following is the COVID-19 situation update for the last 24 hours: We recorded Three Hundred and Twenty-Three (323) new cases out of 3,432 tests conducted (9% positivity). This brings the cumulative number of confirmed cases recorded to date to 84,797. Of the 323 positive samples, 230 (71%) were collected within the last 24-72 hours, whereas 93 (29%) were older than 72 hours. The new cases broken down by province are as follows: 101 Luapula, 65 Copperbelt, 54 Lusaka, 37 Eastern, 30 Northern, 18 North-western, 9 Central, 4 Western, 3 Southern, and 2 Muchinga,” stated Dr Chanda.

“The highest positivity was recorded in Luapula province, while Western province had the lowest positivity. Copperbelt, Eastern, and North-western provinces had positivity above the 9% national average. Five (5) new deaths were reported classified as Covid-19 deaths (3) and Covid-19 associated deaths (2). The cumulative coviD-19 related deaths are now 1,158 (636) Covid-19 deaths and 522 Covid-19 associated deaths). The five (5) new deaths are from Lusaka (3), Copperbelt (1) and Eastern (1) provinces. A combined total of 1,157 discharges were recorded from both the Covid-19 isolation facilities and home management, bringing the cumulative number of recoveries to 81,756 (96%). We currently have 1,883 active cases, of whom 1,714 (9196) are under community management and 169 (9%) are admitted to our Covid-19 isolation facilities. Among those admitted, 126 (75%) are on Oxygen therapy and 26 (15%) are in critical condition.”