HEALTH Minister Sylvia Masebo has announced the lifting of wearing of masks in the 22 districts which have attained above 70 percent vaccination coverage.
The 22 districts include Chililabombwe, Shibuyunji, Kalulushi, Mufulira, Mushindamo, Kasempa, Chingola, Chifunabuli and Luanshya.
Others are Chitambo, Kapiri-Mposhi, Luangwa, Mumbwa, Serenje, Kabwe, Chibombo, Luano, Ngabwe, Chembe, Mongu, Sesheke, and Solwezi.
Speaking during a media briefing on COVID-19, Masebo encouraged those yet to receive the vaccine to do so at the earliest opportunity to ensure that the communities were safe.
“Having experienced four distinct waves over the pandemic, we can clearly see the impact that the vaccination programme has had on reducing the number of cases and deaths. In this regard, today we announce the lifting of wearing of masks in the 22 districts that have so far attained vaccination coverage above 70%. These 22 Districts include Chililabombwe, Shibuyunji, Kalulushi, Mufulira, Mushindamo, Kasempa, Chingola, Chifunabuli, Luanshya, Chitambo, Kapiri-Mposhi, Luangwa, Mumbwa, Serenje, Kabwe, Chibombo, Luano, Ngabwe, Chembe, Mongu, Sesheke, and Solwezi,” she said
“We continue to encourage those yet to receive the vaccine to do so at the earliest opportunity to ensure that our communities are made safer. Remember, none of us is safe until we are all safe. I wish to reiterate our pledge to lift restrictions as more districts achieve the target thereby reducing the threat and ensuring more people are protected. We are immensely proud of the gains we continue to make with our vaccination programme. Two of our provinces, Central and Copperbelt, have crossed the 70% target for fully vaccinated persons, while our national coverage now stands at 52%. The number of fully vaccinated persons now stands at 5,580,445, while 3,158,554 have received Dose 1 and 592,068 have received booster doses.”
Masebo noted a drop in the number of new COVID-19 cases recorded for a fourth consecutive week.
“For a fourth consecutive week, we note a drop in the number of new cases recorded. This past week we reported 700 new cases, 22% less than the 897 cases we recorded the previous week. Also encouraging to note is that our overall national positivity rate has maintained at 5%, which is a good indicator of controlled community transmission. Despite this, we continue to caution of some pockets of high positivity at provincial level. This week notably we saw high positivity above the set threshold in Central (6%), Copperbelt (10%), Eastern (7%), Muchinga (5%), North-western (7%) and Western (10%) provinces. Therefore, we caution people in these areas to ensure that they diligently continue to adhere to the five golden rules,” said Masebo.
“Allow me now to focus on the prevailing situation. In the last 24 hours, we recorded 31 new cases out of 1,053 tests performed, representing a national positivity rate of 3%. The breakdown of cases is as follows: Central (6); Copperbelt (3); Eastern (2); Luapula (4); Lusaka (4); Muchinga (1); North-western (1); Southern (1) and Western (9). Northern province did not record any new cases in the last 24 hours. The new cases, only one (from North-western) required admission. On the other hand, we discharged a total of 207 patients – 5 patients from facilities and 202 patients from home-based management. We are happy to report that for the ninth consecutive day, we did not record any new deaths in the last 24 hours.”
Masebo also commended parents and guardians for cooperating with vaccinators as they went door-to-door to provide the Oral Polio Vaccine and Vitamin A.