HEALTH Minister Sylvia Masebo has disclosed that starting next week, the ministry will be administering a new oral COVID pill called paxlovid to COVID-19 patients.
And Masebo says the ministry will be conducting daily COVID-19 testing for the delegates of the African Union 4th Mid-Year Coordination Meeting before they go to the conference centre.
During a media briefing, Monday, Masebo said the oral COVID-19 drug would be used to treat COVID-19 infections.
“We are also encouraged that by next week we will start giving those that have COVID a new oral COVID pill called paxlovid. Paxlovid will be an oral COVID-19 drug and it will be used to treat COVID infections. As you may wish to note that other countries in Europe are already administering this drug and according to WHO, this drug is good and that it will reduce the progression of the disease. Meaning if you get the virus of COVID and then you take this drug, the virus will not continue to multiply and at that point, the good side of this drug is that transmission to another person whilst you have COVID will also be reduced. So, it is positive and so as Zambia, we are happy that next week this oral COVID pill will start being administered to our COVID patients,” she said.
Masebo said there had been a reduction in the new COVID-19 cases for a second consecutive week.
“A review of our COVID-19 indicators for the past week shows a reduction in new cases for a second consecutive week. We recorded 793 new cases compared to 940 the previous week, a reduction of 16%. The new cases were identified from 15,218 tests conducted, maintaining our overall national positivity of 5% this last week. We also note an encouraging drop in the number of deaths recorded from the past few weeks. In the past week, we recorded one death (compared to four the previous week). In the last 24 hours, we recorded 50 new cases out of 1,250 tests, representing a national positivity rate of 4%. The cumulative number of recorded cases now stands at 327,102. We did not record any COVID-19 related deaths in the last 24 hours,” she said.
And Masebo said the ministry would be conducting daily COVID-19 testing for the delegates before they go to the conference centre.
“We will be conducting daily COVID testing for the delegates before they go to the conference centre as per current AU requirements. Any delegate who tests positive must remain in their room and will be able to follow the conference proceedings through ZOOM. Contacts to a person testing positive will be followed up by our surveillance team. The hotels have been grouped into four zones and each zone assigned an ambulance, in case of any emergency,” she said.
“In terms of human resource, the airport has been assigned 28 nurses, 40 environmental health staff, 2 Laboratory personnel and 2 surveillance officers, 5 doctors and an ambulance service is linked to the hotels. At the Kenneth Kaunda International Conference Centre, the clinic has also been equipped and activated. We have allocated three doctors and 12 nurses. We have set up three COVID-19 testing sites within the premises. With enhanced monitoring for anyone with signs and symptoms, any positive case will immediately be isolated to their hotel and linked to an Infectious Disease Specialist who will be monitoring their condition. The airport including the conference centre will have automated or pedal sanitisers, and sanitising wipes. People will be required to wear face masks at all times and maintain social distance.”
Masebo said several private pharmacies and health insurance companies had been identified to provide services during the period of the summit.
“Attendants who require hospital attendance will be reviewed or admitted at either UTH, National Heart Hospital (NHH), Levy, Chainama, Maina Soko, Medland or Coptic. Several private pharmacies and health insurance companies have been identified to provide services during the period of the summit. Food handlers and other general workers at the conference centre have been taken through orientation on infection prevention,” said Masebo.
She said the cumulative number of fully vaccinated people now stands at 4,703,626, representing a national full vaccination coverage of 43percent.