MINISTER of Health Sylvia Masebo says only 3.8 per cent of the targeted population had so far been vaccinated against COVID-19.

And Masebo says the country has recorded a 24 percent drop in new COVID cases in the last two weeks.

In a statement, Monday, Masebo said she hoped the two-day vaccination campaign to be held this week would boost numbers.

“In the last 24 hours, we administered the following: 1,626 doses of Johnson and Johnson, 315 Dose 1 and 1,308 Dose 2 AstraZeneca, 3 Doses of Sinopharm. This brings the cumulative number of doses that have been administered to date to 702,462. These are broken down by dose type as follows: 317,240 Dose 1 vaccinations and 385,222 fully vaccinated (of which 227,291 (59%) are the single dose J&J vaccinations). Of our overall target population of 8,435,146, this represents a vaccination coverage of 3.8% who have received one dose and 4.6% who are fully vaccinated,” Masebo said.

“This week as planned, we will be carrying out a two-day catch up and mop-up vaccination campaign. We hope this will be the paradigm shift required to ramp up the vaccination programme and boost our numbers closer to target. COVID-19 has resulted in catalytic improvements and strengthening of our health system. We remain committed to ensuring that the investments made into the response feed into other sections of the health system including for routine health services as well as other public health threats and emergencies. Public health and social measures including the five golden rules, as well as genomic sequencing will continue to play a key role in our preparedness and response efforts.”

And Masebo said the drop in percentage was a good indicator that the situation was far much better but won’t be treated as a sign to relax.

“With the continued improvement in the situation around the country, we have directed our efforts to ensure that the projection of response needs across the various sectors are met so as to ensure that we are adequately prepared and able to protect the country against future waves and surges. In comparison over the last past two weeks, we saw a 24% drop in new cases whereas we had one more death in the past week compared to the previous one. The percent change in indicators is a good sign that indeed the situation is far much better but we will not take this as a sign to relax but rather continue to strengthen our health system and resilience index,” she said.

Masebo disclosed that 10 cases of COVID-19 were recorded in the last 24 hours out of 4,154 tests conducted showing a positivity of 0.2 percent.

“In the last 24 hours, we detected only Ten (10) new confirmed COVID-19 cases out of the 4,154 tests conducted (0.2% overall national positivity). Only five of the ten provinces reported new cases. The breakdown of the new cases and within province positivity are as follows: Central province 0 (0.0%), Copperbelt province 0 (0.0%), Eastern province 3 (0.6%), Luapula province 0 (0.0%), Lusaka province 0 (0.0%), Muchinga 1 (0.5%), Northern province 0 (0.0%),North-western 4 (2.9%), Southern 1 (0.2%), Western 1 (1.2%),” she said.

“The cumulative number of COVID-19 confirmed cases recorded to date now stands at 208,867. One (1) new death was recorded in the last 24 hours, from the Central province. This brings the cumulative number of COVID-19 related deaths recorded to date to 3,647 (classified as 2,731 COVID-19 deaths and 916 COVID-19 associated deaths). We currently have 408 active cases (down from 466 reported yesterday) under either admission to an isolation facility or home management for those who are asymptomatic and/or low risk.”

Meanwhile the Health minister said there were no new admissions of COVID-19 patients in the last 24 hours adding that 64 patients were discharged from home management.

“Patients in facilities: In the last 24 hours, we had no new admissions, while 3 discharges were made from COVID-19 facilities country wide. There are currently 24 (6%) of the active cases who are admitted, with the majority being in Lusaka (7) and North-western (7) provinces. Of the 24 admitted, 16 (67%) are on Oxygen therapy and 7 (29%) are in critical condition. Patients being managed from home: We had 64 patients discharged from home management, having met the WHO criteria for discharge, leaving 384 (94%) of the active patients who are currently under home management. Following the combined 67 discharges from home management and isolation facilities in the last 24 hours, the cumulative number of recoveries recorded to date now stands at 204,812 (98% recovered),” said Masebo.