THE Ministry of Health says it’s delighted that the country has so far used up 60 percent of the COVID-19 vaccine doses received.

And Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary for Technical Services Dr Kennedy Malama says some of the patients dying from COVID-19 are being presented late to health facilities.

Speaking during the daily COVID-19 update, Thursday, Dr Malama emphasized the importance of seeking medical attention early to get optimal support and treatment.

“For Zambia, we continue seeing an improving picture and we are paying particular attention to the Provincial COVID-19 situation for focused action at district and community levels. We are optimistic that the situation will continue improving. But as we have stated before, this requires concerted efforts considering the activities taking place before, during and after elections. We have observed that some patients dying from COVID-19 are presenting late to the health facilities. We have emphasized the importance of seeking medical attention early to get optimal support and treatment. Despite the general COVID-19 situation in the country having improved over the past two weeks, we are still seeing very sick patients being admitted, a reminder to all of us not to become complacent,” he said.

And Dr Malama said the country had used up 60 percent of the vaccine doses, and further appealed to members of the public to consider being vaccinated as a fourth wave could not be ruled out.

“In the last 24 hours, we administered 3,440 Dose one and 781 Dose 2 AstraZeneca doses as well as 7,133 doses of Johnson and Johnson. The cumulative number of vaccinations to date now stands at 292,922 Dose one vaccinations (286,023 AstraZeneca and 6,899 Sinopharm) and 172,838 fully vaccinated [i.e. 101,411 Dose two AstraZeneca (35% of those that received dose one); 65,091 Johnson and Johnson and 6,336 Dose two Sinopharm (92% of those that received dose one)],” he said.

“With the 100,000 doses of Sinopharm expected on Saturday, 7th August 2021, our vaccine basket will expand further. We will keep the nation updated on the other vaccines we are expecting once we get confirmed dates of arrival. We are delighted that as a country we have so far used up 60% of the doses received and we continue appealing to members of the public to consider being vaccinated as the surges and a fourth wave around November/ December into early 2022 cannot be ruled out. We urge the members of the public to ensure that you get both doses for vaccines such as AstraZeneca, Sinopharm which require two doses as this gives one full protection.”

Dr Malama said 664 new COVID-19 cases and 17 COVID-19 related deaths were recorded in the last 24 hours.

“In the last 24 hours, we recorded 664 new confirmed COVID-19 cases out of 8,217 tests conducted giving 8% positivity. This brings the cumulative number of confirmed cases to 198,455. The distribution of the new cases and within province positivity are as follows: Central 97 (13%), Copperbelt 104 (8%), Eastern 86 (10%), Luapula 32 (10%); Lusaka 65 (3%), Muchinga 54 (15%), Northern 106 (10%), North-western 66 (19%), Southern 37 (5%) and Western 17 (8%). In the last 24 hours, we recorded 17 new COVID-19 related deaths. The breakdown of the new deaths by Province is as follows: Lusaka four, Eastern three, Southern three, Luapula two, North-western two, Western two and Copperbelt one. The cumulative number of COVID-19 related deaths recorded to date now stands at 3,447 (classified as 2,587 COVID-19 deaths and 860 COVID-19 associated deaths),” he said.

Dr Malama added that 53 patients had been admitted to health facilities while 621 were discharged in the last 24 hours.

“We recorded 53 admissions to our health facilities and discharged 621 (49 from facilities and 572 from community management), bringing the cumulative number of recoveries to 190,279 (96% recovered). We currently have 4,729 active cases, with 4,354 under community management and 375 admitted to our COVID-19 isolation facilities. Among those currently admitted, 255 are on Oxygen therapy and 82 are in critical condition. Although our numbers have been encouraging of late, it is not prudent to base our judgments on a single day’s report. We must look to a sustained reduction in our key indicators namely case numbers, hospitalizations and deaths for a well-informed picture,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Malama said 33 premises were closed in the last 24 hours.

“In the last 24 hours, we inspected 2,927 premises, of these 2,609 (89%) were found to be compliant, 285 (9.7%) were served with notices of improvement while 33 were closed. Today’s number of deaths (17) is a reminder that we should not drop the guard as COVID-19 is still with us. As a response, we remain very confident that we are on the right path and we will bring the third wave under control. We urge members of the public to equally be optimistic and support all the measures which are in place to prevent and mitigate further spread of COVID-19 so that in the coming weeks, progress is made as these measures are reviewed,” said Dr Malama.