GOVERNMENT has expressed concern over the rapidly worsening COVID-19 situation in the country.

Speaking during a media briefing, Wednesday, Health Minister Sylvia Masebo disclosed that the country had in the last 24 hours recorded 5,255 new COVID-19 cases, the highest number of daily cases ever recorded in Zambia.

“Government is deeply concerned about the rapidly worsening COVID-19 situation in the country. In the last 24 hours, 5,255 new confirmed COVID-19 cases were detected from 16,774 tests conducted, representing a positivity of 31% nationally. This this is the highest number of daily cases ever recorded in Zambia. We currently have 316 patients admitted to COVID-19 isolation facilities across the country, among whom 119 patients are on oxygen. Unfortunately, we experienced 10 deaths. It is important to note that all the 9 of the 10 deaths were of individuals who were not vaccinated and 86% of the admitted patients are all unvaccinated. Yesterday, we recorded a total of 25,470 vaccinations, bringing our cumulative number of people who have received dose 1 to 497,818 and those fully immunised to 1,171,582,” she said.

“We have observed that transmission is spreading rapidly especially among people in congregate settings including the workplace. This situation calls for urgent and decisive action on our part as Government and the country as a whole, because we cannot wait and watch the situation become even worse.”

Masebo highlighted some of the measures government would implement in an effort to mitigate against the fast increasing transmission of the fourth wave.

“Therefore, Government, through the Ministry of Health together with other Line Ministries and all stakeholders will implement the following measures: 1. Mobilize to move in all government buildings to immediately start a nation-wide fumigation exercise over the next 48 hours beginning this afternoon. 2. Gatherings are strongly discouraged, especially during the end of year festivities. 3. Members of the public who are not vaccinated against COVID-19 are encouraged to be vaccinated from various vaccination centers countrywide. 4. Members of the public who are vaccinated with the primary series of vaccines and are willing and eligible for booster vaccines should also get booster vaccines. 5. Children aged 12-18 years should also be taken to vaccination centers offering vaccines for children. 6. The public should continue to use facemasks, sanitize and physical distance as much as possible. 7. Members of the public should avoid crowded places and also those who are well should limit visiting hospitals as they are infectious areas. 8. The private sector is encouraged to follow suit and ensure in-door fumigation in their premises,” said Masebo.

“These measures are an effort to mitigate against fast increasing transmission of this fourth wave. Government anticipates minimal disruption on work and business through this period and we call upon the public to cooperate and support this effort.”