MINISTRY of Health Permanent Secretary for Technical Services Dr Kennedy Malama has urged the public to take the projection of the COVID-19 fourth wave seriously.

In a statement, Sunday, Dr Malama said the Ministry of Health was cognizant of the threats posed by other disease outbreaks such as cholera, typhoid, anthrax among others as the country approaches the rainy season.

“Going by experiences adduced from the previous waves experienced in our country and drawing lessons from other jurisdictions, it is rational and safe to assume that the fourth wave is likely to be worse than the previous waves when it occurs. Our comfort is that we have gained more experience and with our ongoing preparedness we will be able to mount an effective response. We urge members of the public to take the projection of a fourth wave seriously and start preparing at individual, family, institutional and community levels. We are aware that lessons have been learnt equally at these levels to inform decision making for better outcomes when we face the Fourth wave as a country,” Dr Malama said.

“As stated before we have continued monitoring the COVID-19 situation countrywide but particularly at Provincial and District levels to ensure that appropriate action is expeditiously taken. Even as we continue preparing for the future we are aware of the weather, the COVID-19 variants and adherence to the public health measures will continue being paramount in the evolution of the Pandemic, not forgetting the global and regional situations. Even as we urge the public to prepare for the fourth wave, we reiterate that vaccination is the surest way of protecting oneself from severe COVID-19 and death.”

Dr Malama said 86 new COVID-19 cases and two new COVID-19 related deaths have been recorded in the last 24 hours.

“We had 86) new confirmed COVID-19 cases recorded out of the 5,158 tests conducted giving 2% overall national positivity. The distribution of the new cases and within province positivity are as follows: Central 6 (1%), Copperbelt 3 (0.4%), Eastern 7 (2%), Luapula two (1%), Lusaka 22 (1%), Muchinga nine (2%), Northern 14 (4%), North-western 15 (11%), Southern four (1%), and Western four (2%). At district level, we note that the top five reporting districts were Lusaka 13, Kafue nine, Solwezi eight, Mbala seven, and Lunte six. The remaining 26 districts reported four or less new cases. The cumulative number of confirmed cases recorded to date now stands at 207,114,” he said.

“Two new COVID-19 related deaths were recorded in the last 24 hours from Muchinga (1) and North-western (1) provinces. The cumulative number of COVID-19 related deaths recorded to date therefore stands at 3,616 (classified as 2,708 COVID-19 deaths and 908 COVID-19 associated deaths). We had only six new admissions across the country, and notably there were no new admissions in Lusaka province which is a good indicator. Notably also was that we had fewer admissions than discharges, with 15 facility discharges reported.”

Dr Malama said 598,218 doses of vaccines have been administered to date.

“In the last 24 hours, a total of 1,701 doses of Johnson and Johnson, 15 doses of Sinopharm as well as 28 Dose one and 64 Dose 2 AstraZeneca vaccine were administered. To date, a total of 598,218 doses (61%) have been administered. The breakdown of the cumulative vaccinations by dose and vaccine type are as follows: 310,862 Dose one vaccinations (i.e. 303,864 AstraZeneca and 6,998 Sinopharm) and 287,356 fully vaccinated [i.e. 169,937 Johnson and Johnson, 111,083 Dose two AstraZeneca (37% of those that received dose one); and 6,336 Dose two Sinopharm (91% of those that received dose one)],” stated Dr Malama.

“The COVID-19 situation has sustainably improved in our country over the past two weeks with a less than 5% COVID-19 national positivity rate. This is a huge feat considering the 26% positivity we witnessed at the peak of the third wave in July. As we head towards the hottest months followed by the rainy season, we are cognizant of the threats posed by other disease outbreaks such as cholera, typhoid, anthrax among others. We are working in a multisectoral manner to prevent, prepare and respond appropriately.”