Health Minister Dr. Chitalu Chilufya has disclosed that the Minister of Finance Dr. Bwalya Ngandu was under quarantine but has tested negative to COVID-19.
Minister of Health, Dr.Chitalu Chilufya announced at today’s briefing, where he also mentioned that Home Affairs Minister Stephen Kapmyongo was also under quarantine and had too tested negative.
Dr. Chilufya emphasized the need to respect the privacy of individuals when it comes to disclosure of their Coronavirus cases and test results.
“We will be transparent with the matter but we will respect the privacy of patients,” he said as he also announced that the Finance Minister consented to have his COVID-19 results made public after he was quarantined.
Dr. Chilufya said that he was happy with the positive response that the Ministry of Health has continued to receive from people who notice some symptoms that are related to those of COVID-19.
He cited Minister of Finance Bwalya N’gandu and his Home Affairs counterpart Stephen Kamyongo as being among many other people that had volunteered to undergo self-quarantine after visiting COVID high risk country.
At the same briefing, Dr Chilufya announced that two out of the 38 coronavirus patients, who are admitted to isolation centers in Lusaka and Copperbelt provinces, have tested negative for the virus and will be discharged tomorrow.
The patients initially tested positive for the disease and have been in the isolation centres where their condition was being monitored for more than 14 days.
Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya said the two patients’ symptoms have since disappeared hence they tested negative.
Dr. Chilufya informed the nation during the COVID-19 update in Lusaka today that in the last 24 hours, the Ministry of Health followed up 266 new alerts who all proved to be non-cases of coronavirus.
This therefore means that the country has in the last 24 hours not recorded any new cases of COVID-19 and the number of patients remains at 38.
Dr. Chilufya described the condition of the 38 patients currently in isolation centers as stable.
“In the last 24 hours, we have no new cases of COVID-19, and the number still stands at 39 with one death and all our 38 patients are still in various isolation facilities, two on the Copperbelt while the rest are in Lusaka and are all stable under the care of our specialized team,” he said.
Dr. Chilufya disclosed that over 5,600 specimens were collected from different people who visited coronavirus high-risk countries.
Out of this number, less than 1,400 are under quarantine for 14 days and are still under high health surveillance system.
And Dr. Chilufya has disclosed that Zambia and Malawi, which announced its first three COVID-19 patients yesterday, are working on a bilateral measure aimed at eliminating the spread of the disease across the two countries.
He explained that surveillance has being heightened in all border areas, entry and exist points for the two countries to ensure that trade and commerce is not disrupted for the economy to continue operating.
“We have Presidential directives to ensure that essential services continue through the multi sectorial approach but only make sure that there is proper management of cargo and that people should only travel when it is necessary,” he said.
And Mr. Kampyongo, who announced that he underwent a COVID-19 test with his wife and tested negative, has reiterated that the media should refrain from invading people’s privacy in their quest to get information.
He explained that only the Ministry of Health, Chief Government Spokesperson and the Head of State have the authority to share information about someone’s health with consent from the person involved.
“My appeal to the media is that you need to understand that respecting the privacy of an individual is law and one can be punished for not abiding by that. Anyone can get infected but there is a need to follow guidelines in accessing the information by ensuring that we respect people’s private space,” he stressed.
He also disclosed that the Ministry of Home Affairs will ensure that all the measures put in place to address the spread of COVID-19 are enforced in order to protect lives.
And Mr. Kampyongo has disclosed that the Zambia Correctional Services has reduced visitation to correctional facilities by members of the public to avoid any spread of the COVID-19 adding that an isolation center has also been identified for suspected patients.
He acknowledged that there is inadequate space in most facilities.
Currently, there are over 23,000 inmates against the holding capacity of 8,000 countrywide.
Busy places such as markets and bus station have been identified as areas with a high risk of transmitting the coronavirus due to the traffic of people that they handle.
Minister of Local Government Charles Banda said tomorrow, all bus stations and markets will be partially closed for about two hours to allow for thorough cleaning and disinfecting.
“We are not closing the markets but we just want to ensure that they are kept clean so that we trade in a clean environment and safe guard our lives,” he said.
Dr. Banda has meanwhile advised traders to reduce the trading hours as a way of lessening their exposure to the coronavirus pandemic.
And various stakeholders have also continued to make monetary and material donations to the Ministry of Health to be used in fighting the coronavirus.
World Vision Zambia has pledged to spend over K5 million on various medical supplies and hygiene measures to supplement government effort in combating the COVID-19 in the country.
World Vision Zambia National Director John Hasse noted that his organization has also partnered with UNICEF to strengthen infection, prevention and control measures in all the isolation centres by providing online chlorinators, hygiene supplies and clean safe water.