MINISTRY of Health Permanent Secretary in charge of technical services Dr Kennedy Malama says there is a 34 percent reduction in the number of new Covid-19 cases recorded from 2,288 to 1,502.

And Dr Malama says the ministry is investigating suspected cases of typhoid reported from the Kamwala area in Lusaka.

In a statement, Sunday, Dr Malama also said there was a 51 per cent reduction in the number of covid deaths.

“As we review the COVID-19 situation in the country at the close of yet another epidemiological week, we note a further 34 percent reduction in the number of new cases recorded compared to the previous week from 2,288 to 1,502, and similarly a 51 percent reduction in the number of deaths (45 versus 22). Our overall test positivity has also reduced further to 4 percent during the just ended week,” read the statement.

He added that there has been an overall national positivity of less than five percent at national level.

“Our SARS-CoV-2 test positivity scorecard shows that over the last two weeks we have had an overall national positivity of less than 5 percent. At provincial level, the same was observed for Lusaka, Copperbelt, Central, Southern, and Eastern provinces, whereas the rest of the provinces unfortunately had an average positivity above 5 percent with Northwestern Province posting a 15 percent positivity. It is these pockets of high positivity in some parts of the country that remain a cause for concern, and why we must keep our guard up despite the temptation to relax adherence to the public health and safety measures in light of improved overall situation,” he said.

Dr Malama observed that the nation was still far from reaching the eligible population of the vaccination program.

He said 1,669 doses of Johnson and Johnson had been administered in the last 24 hours.

“Our vaccination program remains one of the critical ammunition in our arsenal against COVID-19. However, we are still far from reaching the eligible population. We have noted the growing shift in policy in some countries which have introduced mandatory vaccination, and requesting proof of vaccination for access to public spaces. In the last 24 hours, we administered 1,669 doses of Johnson and Johnson, five doses of Sinopharm as well as 97 Dose 1 and 133 Dose 2 AstraZeneca vaccines,” Dr Malama said.

“The cumulative vaccinations broken down by dose and vaccine type are as follows: 310,095 Dose 1 vaccinations (303,191 AstraZeneca and 6,904 Sinopharm) and 263,165 fully vaccinated [i.e. 147,702 Johnson and Johnson, 109,127 Dose 2 AstraZeneca (36 percent of those that received dose 1); and 6,336 Dose 2 Sinopharm (92 percent of those that received dose 1)]. We have administered 573,260 doses (59 percent) of the vaccine stock received so far.”

He said 158 Covid-19 cases were detected and five new deaths in the last 24 hours.

“In the last 24 hours, we detected 158 new confirmed COVID-19 cases out of 5,044 tests (3 percent positivity). The distribution of the new cases and within province positivity are as follows: Central 6 (2 percent), Copperbelt 13 (2percent), Eastern 20 (3 percent), Luapula 16 (7 percent), Lusaka 11 (1 percent), Muchinga 19 (7 percent), Northern 14 (3 percent), North-western 17 (7percent), Southern 7 (1percent), and Western 35 (7 percent). The cumulative number of confirmed cases recorded to date now stands at 206,051,” he said.

“In the last 24 hours, we recorded five new COVID-19 related deaths, all except one of which were COVID-19 associated deaths. The deaths were recorded from North-western (2), Copperbelt (1), Eastern (1), and Western (1) provinces. The cumulative number of COVID-19 related deaths recorded to date therefore stands at 3,596 (classified as 2,694 COVID-19 deaths and 902 COVID-19 associated deaths).”

He said cumulatively, over 2,000 people had recovered.

“We discharged 346 patients (6 from facilities and 340 from community management), bringing the cumulative number of recoveries to 200,662 (97 percent recovered). We currently have 1,793 active cases, with 1,675 (93 percent) under community management and 118 (7 percent) admitted to our COVID-19 isolation facilities, slightly higher than the number we had yesterday. Of those admitted, 83 (70 percent) are on Oxygen and 24 (20 percent) are in critical condition. We had 15 new admissions in the last 24hours,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Malama said the ministry was investigating suspected cases of typhoid.

“As a response we are using this period to ensure that we are well prepared for any spikes or indeed waves. As we continue to mount the COVID-19 response, we remain alert to other possible outbreaks, and we would like to report that we are investigating suspected cases of typhoid reported from the Kamwala area in Lusaka District,” stated Dr Malama.