HEALTH Minister Sylvia Masebo has disclosed that some inmates in selected correctional facilities have tested positive for COVID-19.

And Masebo has expressed concern over the increase in COVID-19 active cases.

Giving an update on the COVID-19 situation, Friday, Masebo directed medical officials to move in all correctional facilities to vaccinate the inmates and check how many could be suffering from COVID-19.

“I have also received reports to the effect that we are experiencing a breakout, that some of our inmates are said to be showing signs of COVID-19. Now this is a serious issue and I want to direct my medical officials through the permanent secretary here that let’s move in all the prison facilities countrywide immediately and let us move in to vaccinate and also to check as to how many of our inmates could be suffering from this COVID-19,” she said.

“I have numbers here showing 150 in one prison facility as I speak now. Now, this is worrisome. So the relevant government institutions under the relevant Ministry of Home Affairs must really help us to get access to these prisoners and move them out of the prison so that they may not be able to spread [the virus] and also we need to mitigate some of these places.”

And Masebo expressed concern over the increase in COVID-19 active cases.

“Worryingly, we are now seeing an increasing number of active cases although a majority of these remain stable and are under home management. It places the community at great risk especially when people do not adhere to the guidance to self-isolate but they continue to roam around in town further spreading the virus. Our observations in this current wave indicate increased transmission in congregate settings and social gatherings. This means let us reduce these social gatherings,” she said.

“I want to urge all those who test positive and are under home isolation to please adhere to the medical advice and keep our communities safe by staying at home and protecting their families and friends. Our active cases currently stand at 3, 882. This is a significant jump from 2,666 that was reported only yesterday. We wish to appeal to the public to adhere to the safety advice so as to avoid being counted among our statistics.”

Meanwhile, the health minister said the country recorded 1,294 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, representing a 14 percent overall national positivity.

“In the last 24 hours, we recorded 1,294 new COVID-19 cases out of the 9,006 tests conducted countrywide. This is now showing 14 percent overall national positivity. The break down of the new cases are as follows; Central province 213 cases, Copperbelt province 304 cases, Eastern province 26 cases, Luapula province 26 cases, Lusaka province 501 cases, Muchinga province 37 cases, North-Western province 59 cases, Southern province 119 cases, Western province 13 cases.The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases recorded to date now stands at 214, 433. We have recorded one new death in the last 24 hours from Lusaka,” she said

Masebo further assured the public that policy guidance would soon be availed with regards to the booster vaccination.

“We are concerned over the break flu infections that have been identified in previously vaccinated individuals. We wish to assure the public that we are moving quickly with regards to the matter of booster vaccinations and we will provide policy guidance soon. Our experts are currently on the matter and soon we shall give policy guidance on the same,” said Masebo.