MINISTRY of Health Permanent Secretary for Technical Services Professor Lackson Kasonka says the upcoming Mongu Mayoral by-election might be held under fewer restrictions due to the continued reduction of COVID-19 cases.

In an interview, Wednesday, Prof Kasonka said the Ministry was yet to discuss easing of restrictions, adding that it was encouraging that the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths had continued to reduce.

“First of all, we want to announce that the COVID surge is going down. You have seen that the numbers are becoming less and less in terms of positivity, I think today we are sitting at two percent or just slightly less. I think we are doing very well, the numbers are going down, the hospital admissions are much less, those who are positive can get treatment. Most importantly, the deaths have gone down tremendously and this is a very good trajectory. This is happening in Zambia and many parts of Africa except for South Africa, they are still in the mud a little bit but not as before. So this trajectory is very encouraging,” he said.

“If the by-election is going to happen on the 14th April, that is next month, that means about 21 days or so, three weeks, and with the trajectory going down as it is, it is likely that by that time a lot of things may have eased down and open up. So it is likely, I am not saying that is the decision, it is likely that the by-elections will go on less restrictions.”

He said the Ministry would make decisions based on empirical evidence.

“I will tell you that I am sick and tired of COVID just like many other Zambians are. Look at the way it has restricted our lives, we can’t do a lot of things, businesses have suffered, the economy has suffered. So looking at this trajectory, it is encouraging that we should start to come out and open our economy. Now, I haven’t made that pronouncement. Other countries have started to scale down on the measures, we should be headed towards that as well,” said Prof Kasonka.

“I have asked the Public Health Institute to give me their opinion based on their surveillance, I don’t want to make any kind of hasten judgement. But I have asked them to do a situation analysis before Friday so that we can advise honourable Minister to make appropriate announcements. So we will be pushing up recommendations based on empirical evidence as is observed not in Zambia but in the region and also in Africa. Many countries; Saudi Arabia, India, including China, have relaxed a lot [on] the restrictions.”