HEALTH Minister Sylvia Masebo says the eight individuals in whom the COVID-19 Omicron variant was detected last week are faring well.

And Masebo says the country has recorded 157 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours.

Giving an update on the COVID-19 situation, Monday, Masebo said the affected individuals were still under home quarantine, with two of those having mild symptoms.

“I’m happy to report that all the 44 of the 45 contacts to the eight individuals in whom the Omicron variant was detected are negative to Sars-cov-02, a variant that causes COVID-19. The eight individuals who are still under home quarantine are doing well with only two having mild symptoms. Three of those clear symptoms have been retested and we await the results.” she said.

And Masebo said 157 new COVID-19 cases were recorded in the last 24 hours out of the 2,715 tests conducted.

“While the overall national picture indicates we are in resurgence with the epicenters being Central province, Copperbelt province, Luapula province, Lusaka, North Western and Southern provinces, numbers in Northern province put us on alert. These thresholds have corresponding actions and guidance as provided for by the WHO and other global health authorities including Africa ICDC. Rapid intervention is key when the resurgence threshold is reached as we now have. On surveillance and case management, in the last 24 hours, we recorded 157 new COVID-19 cases. This is out of the 2,715 tests that have been conducted countrywide. This is giving us a six percent overall national positivity. Take note that these numbers are quite high looking at cases that have been tested,” she said.

“The breakdown of the new cases and within province positivity are as follows: Central province 17 cases which is 11 percent positivity, Copperbelt province 28 cases which is 18 percent positivity. Eastern province now has two cases from 0 which is a two percent positivity. Western province which was also at zero has now three cases which is a five percent positivity. At district level, the new cases were reported from 26 out of 116 districts with the top six being Lusaka with 47, Kitwe 22 cases, Kabwe 13 cases, Chirundu 12 cases, Livingstone 11 cases and Kazungula 10 cases, whereas the remaining 20 districts recorded five or fewer cases each. Take note that this shows that the whole country is covered. The cumulative number of COVID-19 confirmed cases recorded to date now stand at 211,234 cases. We did not record any new deaths in the last 24 hours.”

And speaking at the same event, Marketeers Association of Zambia chairperson Frank Kameya appealed to all marketeers to take the looming fourth wave seriously

“One thing that has created a hiccup in the fight against COVID is that we have not been given the much support needed in terms of reaching out. Reaching out involves resources and sometimes we just go on the ground on our own using our own resources which I think is not correct. We need finances for us to reach out. To continue sensitizing involves a lot of work. Going forward we would like to appeal to all marketeers across the country that when we hear about this fourth wave, we should take it very seriously. One thing that can help us as a country is to ensure that we get the vaccine. This is a developing country and so if we don’t follow the guidelines by the ministry who are guiding us, I think that will be a challenge,” said Kameya.