MINISTER of Health Sylvia Masebo says there were nine COVID-19 associated deaths in the just ended week, an increase compared to the five which were recorded the previous week.

In a statement read on her behalf by Ministry of Health permanent secretary for technical services Professor Lackson Kasonka, Monday, Masebo said there had also been a three per cent increase in new infections.

She said of the nine deaths, seven were classified as covid associated deaths while two were covid deaths.

“As always, I will begin with a recap of our epidemiological picture for the past week as relates to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the just ended week, there was a 3% increase in new cases, with 1,031 cases recorded compared to 1,005 the previous week. Sadly, we also saw an increase in the number of deaths recorded, with nine COVID-19 related deaths reported compared to five the previous week. Of the deaths reported, seven were classified as COVID-associated deaths and two were COVID-19 deaths. Regrettably, we continue to see late presentation of patients and this is particularly dangerous for those with underlying co-morbidities,” she said

“We strongly urge the public to present early for medical attention and we continue to encourage that all eligible persons get vaccinated in order to avert severe COVID disease and death.
The number of admissions also rose by 46%, having recorded 47 new admissions versus 24 admissions the previous week. We are also closely monitoring our positivity rate at national and provincial level. Although our national positivity rate has remained relatively stable at 6% for a third consecutive week, we do note that at provincial level, there remain pockets of high positivity particularly in Central, Copperbelt, Lusaka, North-western, and Southern provinces, whose positivity for the week was above the WHO threshold of 5%.”

She said our national vaccination coverage was now at 17.7% dose 1 and 40.4% full vaccination coverage.

“In the last 24 hours, we recorded 29 new cases out of 1,082 tests performed. The cases were from across 11 districts, representing a national positivity rate 3%. There were no new cases recorded from Muchinga and Northern provinces. Of the new cases, five required admission, while on the other hand,134 patients were discharged from both home-based case and facility management. We did not record any new deaths in the last 24hours. There are currently 1,111 active cases countrywide. Of the active cases, 39 (4%) are currently admitted with 14 of them on oxygen and 4 classified as being in critical condition,” said Masebo.

“In the last 24 hours, we recorded the following vaccine dose entries: 5,137 dose 1; 11,747 dose 2 and 1,500 booster. The number of fully vaccinated persons now stands at over 4,425,092 (including those who received the single dose J&J vaccine). Further, 2,630,013 people have received dose 1 and 403,171 have received booster doses. Our national vaccination coverage is now at 17.7% dose 1 and 40.4% full vaccination coverage. Although we are past the half way mark to our target, we still have a way to go before we reach 70%. Having the majority of our people vaccinated is an important step towards ensuring that we keep COVID-19 at bay and that those who do get sick are spared from severe illness.”