HEALTH Minister Sylvia Masebo says the country has not recorded any new COVID-19 related deaths for three consecutive days.

And Masebo says the re-launch of the vaccination campaign which is expected to achieve the new target of vaccinating 30 percent of the population by December 2021 is slated for Thursday, October 7.

In a statement, Monday, Masebo said nine new confirmed COVID-19 cases were recorded in the last 24 hours, bringing the cumulative number of cases to 757,241.

“Following our impressive and consistent low numbers of cases, hospitalisations and deaths recorded recently, government last week took the decision to lift the restrictions put in place at the height of the third wave to protect lives and livelihoods. However, let me be quick to stress that the lifting of restrictions is by no means a green card to drop our guard completely. The SARS-CoV-2 virus which causes COVID-19 is still very much in circulation among us, and therefore, we must bear in mind that the restrictions were lifted in the context of continued adherence to the public health and safety measures, including the five golden rules. In the same vein, we will continue to place emphasis on swabbing and testing as well as genomic sequencing so as to stay abreast of our evolving epidemiological picture. In the past week, we saw a further reduction in our overall test positivity from 1% to 0.8%, while the new cases recorded reduced by 21% and deaths by 62%,” Masebo said.

“In the last 24 hours, we recorded Nine (9) new confirmed COVID-19 cases, out of the 3,073 tests that were conducted (0.3% overall national positivity). The new cases were reported from seven of the ten provinces; Central, Northern and Southern provinces did not detect any positives from the tests conducted. The breakdown of the new cases and within province positivity are as follows: Central province 0 (0.0%), Copperbelt province 1 (0.3%),Eastern province 1 (0.5%), Luapula province 2 (0.8%), Lusaka province 1 (0.1%), Muchinga province 2 (0.8%), Northern province 0 (0.0%), North-western province 1 (0.9%), Southern province 0 (0.0%), Western province 1 (1.2%). The cumulative number of COVID-19 confirmed cases recorded to date now stands at 209,172.”

Masebo said there were currently 312 active COVID-19 cases being managed under isolation facilities and homes.

“For the third consecutive day, we had no new deaths recorded in the last 24 hours. The cumulative number of COVID-19 related deaths recorded to date stands at 3,649 (classified as 2,733 COVID-19 deaths and 916 COVID-19 associated deaths). We currently have 312 active cases (down from 327 reported yesterday); these are being managed either under an isolation facility or at home for those who are asymptomatic and/or low risk. Patients in facilities: In the last 24 hours, we had two new admissions compared to one discharge,” Masebo said.

“Currently 22 (7%) of the active cases are admitted, with the majority still being in North-western eight and Lusaka five provinces. Of the total 22 who are admitted, 13 (59%) on Oxygen therapy and eight (36%) are in critical condition. Patients being managed from home: We discharged 23 patients from home management, who met the WHO criteria for discharge, leaving 290 (93%) of the active patients currently under home management. Following the combined 24 discharges from home management and isolation facilities in the last 24 hours, the cumulative number of recoveries recorded to date now stands at 205,211 (98% recovered).”

Masebo said the re-launch of the vaccination campaign was slated for October 7.

“This week on Thursday 7th October, we will have the much anticipated relaunch of our vaccination campaign which is expected to serve as a catch-up campaign and get us one step closer to our new target of 30% vaccinated by December 2021. In the last 24 hours, we administered the following: 1,921 doses of Johnson and Johnson. 1,009 Dose 1 and 748 Dose 2 AstraZeneca. 44 Doses of Sinopharm. This brings the cumulative number of doses that have been administered to date to 757,241. These are broken down by dose type as follows: 328,179 Dose 1 vaccinations and 429,062 fully vaccinated (of which 254,238 (59%) are the single dose J&J vaccinations),” Masebo said.

Meanwhile, Masebo said government would ensure that interventions including childhood immunisations were heightened in an integrated manner.

“While we note an improvement in the maternal mortality rates, we remain cognisant of the need to scale up capacities at sub-district level. We continue to mentor the clinical staff in emergency and critical care for our expectant women by integrating this in the COVID-19 mentorship programs. With the onset of the rainy season comes the threat of disease outbreaks such as anthrax, cholera and typhoid. In keeping with our efforts to ensure continuity of essential services even in the face of the continued COVID-19 response, we will ensure that interventions including childhood immunisations are heightened in an integrated manner. Government remains committed to cost effectiveness, transparency and accountability for efficient service delivery,” said Masebo.