MINISTRY of Health Permanent Secretary for Technical Services Dr Kennedy Malama says the third wave of COVID-19 has significantly eased off.

In a statement, Monday, Dr Malama insisted that the vaccination programme was key in preventing the devastating effects of COVID-19.

“It is clear that the third wave of COVID-19 which started in the middle of May 2021 has significantly eased off going by the reduction we have continued to record in positivity, hospitalisation and deaths in our country. This scenario is encouraging and would like to commend members of the public for the general positive response during this difficult period. Despite the progressive picture we continue seeing, we are aware of a potential fourth wave towards the end of the year into 2022 and we will continue investing in prevention, preparedness and response interventions covering short, medium and long terms,” Dr Malama said.

“Our vaccination program continues to be key in preventing the devastating effects of COVID-19 in our country. We have primed our Provinces and Districts to ensure that vaccination is not only routinized but ramped up using both static and outreach service delivery models and this will be our focus in coming weeks.”

He said a cumulative of 552,288 doses of vaccines had been administered out of the 977,600 received so far.

“In the last 24 hours, we entered the following records in our system: 135 Dose 1 AstraZeneca, 147 Dose 2 AstraZeneca and 1,613 doses of Johnson and Johnson. The cumulative vaccinations broken down by dose and vaccine type are as follows: 309,310 Dose 1 vaccinations (302,411 AstraZeneca and 6,899 Sinopharm) and 242,978 fully vaccinated [i.e. 108,181 Dose 2 AstraZeneca (36 percent of those that received dose 1); 128,461 Johnson and Johnson, and 6,336 Dose 2 Sinopharm (92 percent of those that received dose 1)]. Of the 977,600 vaccines received to date, a cumulative 552,288 doses (56 percent) have been administered with a conservative 4.3 percent wastage rate notwithstanding,” he said.

Dr Malama said the country had recorded 102 new confirmed COVID-19 cases out of 3,486 tests done in the last 24 hours.

“We recorded 102 new confirmed COVID-19 cases out of 3,486 tests (three percent positivity). The distribution of the new cases and within province positivity are as follows: Central two (one percent), Copperbelt 35 (four percent), Eastern eight (two percent), Luapula seven (three percent), Lusaka four (one percent), Muchinga five (four percent), Northern nine (nine percent), North-western 11 (13 percent), Southern 11 (two percent), and Western 10 (six percent). The cumulative number of confirmed cases recorded to date now stands at 204,651,” Dr Malama said.

He said the country had recorded four new COVID-19 related deaths in the last 24 hours.

“Four new COVID-19 related deaths reported from Northern (two) and North-western (two) provinces. The cumulative number of COVID-19 related deaths recorded to date now stands at 3,578 (classified as 2,684 COVID-19 deaths and 894 COVID-19 associated deaths). We discharged 222 patients (13 from facilities and 209 from community management), bringing the cumulative number of recoveries to 198,781 (97 percent recovered). We currently have 2,292 active cases, with 2,127 (93 percent) under community management and 165 (seven percent) admitted to our COVID-19 isolation facilities. Among those currently admitted, 112 (70 percent) are on Oxygen therapy and 39 (24 percent) are in critical condition. We had 15 new admissions in the last 24hours,” said Dr Malama.

“Today we reiterate our appreciation to the cooperating partners, United Nations family, private sector, Civil Society Organisations, media and the leadership at various levels for continuing to support the COVID-19 response. We call upon the public to continue adhering to the public health guidelines and getting vaccinated even with reduced COVID-19 cases as this is the only way we can continue saving lives, livelihoods and the economy of our country.”