Minister of health warns of unpredictable cold season


Following the continued reduction in the country’s positivity tests and hospital admissions with the Coronavirus, government has begun to gradually scale down on the numbers of staff stationed in COVID-19 isolation centres, Minister of Health Jonas Chanda has disclosed.

Dr Chanda indicated that the move is meant to help strengthen health service delivery with regard to other disease burdens.

The Minister assured that the sector remains committed to providing all staff with onsite mentorship and virtual training for sustained capacity building.

Contained in a statement issued to ZANIS in Lusaka today, Dr. Chanda disclosed that Zambia has in the last 24 hours recorded 244 new cases out of 6,248 tests conducted representing a four percent positivity.

He added that three deaths were recorded, while a total number of 159 cases were discharged from both the COVID-19 isolation facilities and home management, and that the country currently documents 2,116 active cases.

Dr. Chanda noted that among the 116 cases admitted in health facilities, 83 are on Oxygen therapy while 25 are in critical condition.   

 “The new cases broken down by province includes 49 from Eastern, 46 North-western, 40 Lusaka, 34 Copperbelt, 29 Luapula, 27 Northern, seven Central, seven Southern, seven Muchinga, and one Western.

Of the 244 positive samples, 187 were collected within the last 24-72 hours whereas 57 were older than 72 hours. The province with the highest positivity rate was Eastern at 11 percent, while Southern one percent and Western recording 0.2 percent thereby having the lowest positivity,” Dr. Chanda segmented the cases.

The Minister stated that the cumulative number of confirmed cases recorded to date now stands at 86,779, the cumulative number of COVID-19 related deaths recorded at 1,185, and the total number of recoveries is 83,478.

He commended those actively involved in the fight against the pandemic both at community and facility levels, saying that their efforts have effectively played a major role in managing as well as reducing the cases of COVID-19 in the country.

Dr. Chanda further disclosed that UNICEF, with support from Sweden and other donors, has agreed to support the procurement of the new Oxygen Plant for the Copperbelt Province which will be located at Kitwe Teaching Hospital.

The Minister added that UNICEF has also procured 310 Oxygen Cylinders which arrived in the country over the weekend, and has also procured 3,000 interagency health centre kits with support from Sweden, Germany and the United Kingdom, while 1,700 kits are in the pipeline.

He stated that the World Health Organisation (WHO) is also in the process of procuring Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) worth 1.5 million United States dollars.

Dr. Chanda reiterated the government’s commitment to the development of policies based on evidence, and that it applies to the stance taken in the COVID-19 response.

He has since urged the general public to sustain community adherence and continue to enhance behaviour change if the country is to avert a third wave, especially as the cold season approaches.