MINISTRY of Health Permanent Secretary for Technical Services Dr Kennedy Malama has advised members of the public not to abandon COVID-19 preventive measures in view of the decline in the number of cases.

And Dr Malama says 127 new COVID-19 cases and three deaths have been recorded in the last 24 hours.

In a statement, Tuesday, Dr Malama reminded the public that the virus was still circulating.

“The decline in COVID-19 cases and positivity in the country has continued with an almost flattened curve being observed in the country. We are aware that this scenario brings temptations to completely abandon the various preventive measures. We remind the public that the virus is still circulating and while the risk has significantly reduced, one can still contract COVID-19 if they don’t take appropriate measures to protect themselves and those close to them. For instance, this is not the time to drop the mask when in public places. Today, we reiterate our appreciation of our front line personnel whose dedication to duty has been exemplary. It is evident that COVID-19 will be with us for some time and we have guided all Provinces to continue having a high index of suspicion amidst reduced cases in order to save lives,” he said.

Dr Malama called on stakeholders to be proactive in preventing occurrences of food poisoning such as the recent incident on the Copperbelt.

“As a response, we remain committed to ensuring that we continue prioritizing other public health priorities of our country. The recent investigation into the food poisoning incident on the Copperbelt in which a pesticide was found in food has once again reminded us of the importance of food safety across the food chain and calling upon all stakeholders to be vigilant and proactive if we are to prevent such occurrences,” he said.

And Dr Malama said 54 percent of the total vaccines received had been administered.

“Under our vaccination program, we recorded 3,312 doses of Johnson and Johnson, 90 Dose 1 Sinopharm, and 249 Dose 2 AstraZeneca vaccine doses administered. This brings the total usage of our received vaccine consignments to date to 602,996 doses. Following the receipt of the 129,600 additional doses of Johnson yesterday, this represents 54 percent of the total vaccines received having been administered. The breakdown of the cumulative vaccinations by dose and vaccine type are as follows: 311,049 Dose 1 vaccinations (i.e. 303,961 AstraZeneca and 7,088 Sinopharm) and 291,947 fully vaccinated [i.e. 174,253 Johnson and Johnson, 111,358 Dose 2 AstraZeneca (37 percent of those that received dose 1); and 6,336 Dose 2 Sinopharm (89 percent of those that received dose 1)],” he stated.

Dr Malama said the 127 new cases of COVID-19 were reported from 41 districts.

He added that the cumulative number of COVID-19 related deaths stood at 3,620.

“Of the 6,305 tests conducted in the last 24 hours, 127 new confirmed COVID-19 cases were detected (2 percent overall national positivity). The distribution of the new cases and within province positivity are as follows: Central 5 (1 percent), Copperbelt 7 (1 percent), Eastern 3 (1 percent), Luapula 9 (3 percent), Lusaka 23 (1 percent), Muchinga 30 (4 percent), Northern 15 (3 percent), North-western 22 (12 percent), Southern 6 (1 percent), and Western 7 (2 percent),” Dr Malama said.

“The new cases were reported from 41 districts, with the top five reporting districts being Kafue 16, Solwezi 16, Nakonde 12, Lusaka 7 and Shiwangandu 6. The cumulative number of confirmed cases recorded to date now stands at 207,294. We recorded three new COVID-19 deaths from Eastern, Luapula and Northern provinces. The cumulative number of COVID-19 related deaths recorded to date therefore stands at 3,620 (classified as 2,712 COVID-19 deaths and 908 COVID-19 associated deaths).”

Meanwhile, Dr Malama said there was a slight increase in admissions.

“We saw a slight increase in our total admissions compared to yesterday, following 13 new admissions, with fewer discharges (9) from facilities recorded. A further 99 discharges were under community management, giving a total of 108 discharges in the last 24 hours. The cumulative number of recoveries now stands at 202,500 (98 percent recovered). We currently have 1,174 active cases, with 1,090 (93 percent under community management and 84 (7 percent) patients currently admitted to our COVID-19 isolation facilities. Of the admitted, 56 (67 percent) are on oxygen and 16 (19 percent) are in critical condition,” stated Dr Malama.