The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect many populations leaving a trail of over one million deaths in its wake since December 2019.
Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary for Technical Services, Kennedy Malama, has stated that the varied epidemiology in different countries has depended on the public health interventions set up ranging from instituting ‘lock-downs’ to closure of schools and restricted public gatherings as well as enforcing wearing of masks and heightened hand hygiene practices in the public.
During the COVID-19 update in Lusaka today, Dr. Malama said the Zambian government has continued to use a multisectoral approach in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Permanent Secretary announced that a total of fifty-three (53) new cases of COVID-19 have been recorded out of 3,529 tests conducted in the last 24 hours.
Dr. Malama outlined that the cases arose from one contact to known cases in Milenge, 14 identified through healthcare facility screening, one from Chirundu, five from Lusaka and two from Mufulira.
He said others were 3 from Ndola and 3 Solwezi, 38 through routine screening, one from Chingola, 8 Chirundu, from Kabwe 11, one in Kasama, 4 Kitwe and 4 Lusaka including nine cases from Ndola.
“We have discharged 20 patients from our isolation facilities in Lusaka during the last 24 hours bringing the total number of recoveries to 14,919. The cumulative number of cases today 16th October, 2020 is 15,712 out of 201,931 tests conducted so far and includes 14,919 recoveries and 346 deaths,” he added.
“The deaths are classified as 115 COVID-19 deaths and 231 COVID-19 associated deaths. Globally a total of 39,186,832 COVID-19 cases including 1,103,111 deaths and 29,386,109 recoveries were reported as of 09:00AM today 16th October 2020. Cumulative cases in Africa were 1,621,853 including 39,150 deaths and 1,336,611 recoveries,”
And the Permanent Secretary noted that the ongoing prevalence survey on COVID-19 in Lusaka has been concluded successfully with a response rate of over 95 percent.
Dr. Malama was elated to note the community’s positive response as the information gathered will provide scientific evidence based guidance to policy development and technical strategies.
“This being a national survey, we are now moving to the other districts within the country and will provide a comprehensive report at the end of the survey. I wish to make a clarion call to all members of the community to be positive and cooperate with our public health practitioners as they ask you to participate in the survey,” the Permanent Secretary said.
Dr. Malama indicated that the information gathered in the survey will help to determine who has been affected and the magnitude of the epidemic in specific areas.
Meanwhile, Ministry of Local Government Permanent Secretary, Ed Chomba said the COVID-19 pandemic is real and needs to be treated with the seriousness it deserves.
Bishop Chomba expressed concern over the attitude towards the pandemic especially in market areas as most members of the public have thrown away their masks.
“Our markets are hotspots for COVID-19 and people are not masking up. The SI’s are still in effect and people can do much better if they adhere to the rules,” he said.
He further advised members of the public to quickly visit health facilities in the event that they start experiencing symptoms of the pandemic.
“It is important that were symptoms occur, people must report to the nearest health facility,” the Permanent Secretary advised.