66 new COVID-19 cases have been recorded at Zambia’s largest hospital, the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) during routine testing. Briefing the media during the routine COVID-19 update, the Minister of Health Dr. Chitalu Chilufya said that the new cases are from the 618 test, which covered alerts, contacts, and routine surveillance systems in clinical setups and communities.
The Minister also said that an additional 8 new COVID-19 cases out of the 79 test carried out at TDRC were also recorded. Samples from Nakonde have been shipped to testing centers where the mass testing is underway.
The new cases bring the total in the last 24 hours to 74 new COVID-19 cases, thus putting the accumulative total number of COVID-19 cases in Zambia at 753. The Minister also announced that the number of discharged people was 5.
The Minister assured the country that the testing will be moving to other ports of entry in the coming days, noting that the government is keeping a watchful eye on its eight neighbours where a number of cases have been recorded.
Dr. Chilufya said that the government had intensified testing and screening in Nakonde where the workforce has been boosted and that government will be enhancing screening in various border towns with Chirundu and Kazungula targeted this week.
He appealed to citizens to observe the health guidelines provided such as sanitizing or washing hands, wearing face masks and avoiding unnecessary movements.
Meanwhile, Kenya has closed its borders with Somalia and Tanzania as the country strives to stem further spread of the coronavirus. In a televised address to the nation, President Uhuru Kenyatta said he was imposing more measures after it emerged that some of the cases had crossed the border from Tanzania and Somalia.
“If we do not take additional precautionary measures and get even more serious in implementing existing guidelines, the number of people who will get sick and die is going to rise sharply,” said President Kenyatta.
The decree, effective Saturday midnight, does not affect cargo vehicles.
The move, unprecedented in the history of the East African Community’s 20-year existence, came as Kenya said it had blocked 78 truck drivers from Tanzania from entering the country.
The President also announced that the number of Covid-19 cases in the country had risen to 830 after 49 more people tested positive.
Forty-three of those detected this week had crossed the border from the neighbouring countries, according to Kenyatta.