MINISTER of Health Sylvia Masebo says the Covid-19 pandemic is far from finishing.

Speaking during the Covid-19 press briefing, Monday, Masebo said even though cases and deaths were declining globally, there were surges of cases in Asia and the pacific region.

She said her ministry had recorded a 15% decrease in new cases and a 44% reduction in new admissions.

“It is now slightly over 2 years since Zambia recorded its first two cases of COVID-19. Shortly after recording the first two cases, we observed more cases among persons with a history of international travel. A little while later there was local transmission established. Two years down the line, the world has recorded over 480 million cases, including over 6 million deaths. Within Zambia, we report a total of more than 300,000 cases and almost 4,000 deaths,” she said.

“Even though cases and deaths are declining globally and several countries are lifting restrictions, we continue to observe surges of cases in Asia and the Pacific region. We have also observed that the virus continues to mutate, and we continue to face major difficulties in ensuring adequate vaccination coverage. The pandemic is therefore far from over and it will not be over anywhere until it is over everywhere”.

She said some provinces did not record any new positive Covid-19 cases.

“As we start a new week, we look back on our epidemiological performance over the past 2 weeks. Our data shows that our recorded number of cases, hospitals and deaths continue to drop. Over the course of the just ended week, we recorded 621 confirmed cases, 2 deaths, and 15 new admissions (compared to 727 confirmed cases, 4 deaths, and 27 new admissions the previous week), this marks a 15% decrease in new cases and a 44% reduction in new admissions,” Masebo said.

“In the last 24 hours we recorded 25 new COVID-19 cases out of 1,294 tests conducted countrywide, giving an overall national positivity of 2%. Notably, Central, Eastern, Luapula, and Muchinga provinces did not record any new positive cases from the tests they conducted. We also notably had no new admissions, while conversely we discharged a total of 79 patients from both home and facility management, leaving 662 active cases nationwide. It is encouraging to note that the number of active cases has also continued to drop and has now been below 1,000 for close to two weeks”.

She said vaccination centres were dotted around the country in accessible locations for easy service.

“Of the current active cases nationwide, only eight (1%) require hospitalisation, and these are spread across four provinces only, namely North-western four, Lusaka two, Eastern one and Southern one. Of these, two (25 percent) are on oxygen therapy and none are classified as critically ill. For the third consecutive day, we have not reported any new deaths,” she said.

“Our COVID-19 vaccination campaign has been instrumental in ensuring a level of protection against COVID-19 among our people. We continually urge all eligible to get vaccinated at the earliest possible opportunities. Vaccination centres are dotted around the country in accessible locations. We particularly wish to appeal to families to have their older family members vaccinated, we have noted with concern that most of the deaths that we continue to record are among elderly unvaccinated persons”.

Masebo urged members of the public to get fully vaccinated and adhere to the five golden rules.

“The cumulative number of vaccinated persons to date is 1,214,309 with dose 1 and 2,176,230 fully vaccinated. A further 62,210 persons have received booster doses so far. To date, 179,967 children aged 12-17 years have received their first dose and 19,958 have received the second dose of vaccinations. Currently, the proportion of fully vaccinated individuals stands at 19% of eligible persons nationwide. People aged 60 years and over make up just 11% of the fully vaccinated. On an encouraging note, the proportion of children vaccinated has risen to 5%,” said Masebo.

“I wish to re-emphasise the need to adhere to the ‘5 golden rules’ and getting fully vaccinated against COVID-19 whether you have a chronic illness or not. Let us remember to get the booster dose and very importantly get our children 12 years and above to get vaccinated. We all need to be ambassadors of good health practices and report any suspicious diseases to the healthcare facilities”.