MINISTER of Health Dr Jonas Chanda has announced that Zambia has recorded 176 new COVID-19 cases out of 4,764 tests conducted and one death in the last 24 hours.

In a statement, Sunday, Dr Chanda stated that the cumulative number of cases now stood at 86,449 with 1,179 deaths recorded.

“We recorded 176 new cases out of 4,764 tests conducted (four percent positivity). This brings the cumulative number of confirmed cases recorded to date to 86,449. The new cases broken down by province were reported as follows: 40 Copperbelt, 40 Lusaka, 35 Eastern, 18 Northern, 13 Muchinga, eight Central, seven Luapula, six Southern, six Western, and three North-western. Of the 176 positive samples, 113 were collected within the last 24-72 hours whereas 63 were older than 72 hours. The province with the highest positivity rate was Muchinga (10 percent) while Southern (one percent) had the lowest rate. Only one new death was recorded. The cumulative number of COVID-19 related deaths recorded now stands at 1,179, classified as 649 COVID deaths and 530 COVID-19 associated deaths,” he stated.

“A combined 148 discharges were recorded from both the COVID-19 isolation facilities and home management, bringing the cumulative number of recoveries to 83,258 (96 percent). We currently have 2,012 active cases, of whom 1,886 (94 percent) are under community management and 126 (6 percent) are admitted to our COVID-19 isolation facilities. Among those admitted, 90 (67 percent) are on Oxygen therapy and 24 (19 percent) are in critical condition.”

The Minister advised that citizens adhere to the public health guidelines to avoid a possible third wave.

“Although scientific evidence suggests that asymptomatic cases transmit the virus to significantly fewer people than those who are symptomatic, the fact that these infections tend to largely go undetected and therefore still pose a significant health risk because they are more likely to remain within the community rather than isolated and thus further spreading the virus. In order to maintain the gains made, we must continually adhere to public health guidelines at individual, household and community levels; and strengthen our screening and testing capacity, to ensure that we break the chains of Coronavirus transmission and halt the spread of the virus,” stated Dr Chanda.

“In the past epidemiological week, we recorded a 21 percent increase in the number of tests conducted countrywide, and a further reduction in our positivity rate from eight percent the previous week to five percent. The positivity rate at the peak of the second wave in January was up to 18 percent. However, the reduction in positivity must be received with caution as we still note day to day variation as well as some provinces consistently reporting positivity rates above the national average. Our surveillance teams continue to record clusters of cases around the country, some of whom are asymptomatic.”