Health Minister Dr. Chitalu Chilufya has declared Nakonde District as the new COVID-19 epicenter following the explosion of new cases in the district. The 76 new cases, out of 170 tests done in Nakonde, marks the highest number of new COVID-19 cases record in a district since the detection of the disease in Zambia.
Briefing the media today, Dr. Chitalu also announced that 3 COVID-19 deaths have been recorded while the country has also an additional 9 new cases out of 346 test, to bring the total to recorded 85 new cases, with 1 recovery in the last 24 hours.
Dr. Chilufya added that the cases involve 26 truck drivers, among them 18 Tanzanians, 13 being workers at lodges and commercial sex workers, and 31 immigration staff among others.
Dr Chilufya disclosed that the first death was recorded from an 82-year-old patient of Nampundwe who had a stroke but was subjected to COVID-19 tests which came out positive. He said the second case is of a 30-year-old female from Ngombe compound who tested positive but was suffering from the chronic liver condition while the 3rd case is from a patient from Ndola who was investigated for tuberculosis and presented to the hospital and was swabbed and also tested positive for COVID-19.
Dr. Chitalu also said that the 9 cases are from 346 tests done in Lusaka out of which the deaths came from bringing the cumulatively cases to 252, 112 recoveries, 133 active cases, and 7 deaths.
The Minister said the cases recorded in Nakonde came from mass testing which was necessitated by a couple from the Copperbelt who tested positive after coming from the border town.
Dr. Chilufya further said 650 cases from Nakonde are being analysed today and said all measures have since been intensified to avoid further community spread in the district and also appealed to the citizenry to avoid traveling to and from Nakonde.
“Key guidelines remain the same. avoid unnecessary travels and enhance hygiene in the midst of the gradual retain to normalcy and be adherent to the public health guidelines” he urged.
Dr. Chilufya said the ministry has instituted stringent border control measures and those who will be coming from Nakonde will be subjected to the 14 days mandatory quarantine at their own cost.
He said Chinsali will have a 300-bed quarantine facility and assured that the government will be able to handle the surge in cases in the area.
“In averting a public crisis and allowing the economy to run this summons all of us to observe strictly the public guidelines as given by President Edgar Lungu in his national address,” Dr.Chilufya said.