Zambia has recorded 850 new COVID-19 cases in the last 24 hours, the highest number of coronavirus cases recorded since the first announcement on March 18th, 2020.
The Ministry of Health announced yesterday afternoon that the recorded cases are out of the 10,461 tests carried out countrywide, including 146 recoveries and five deaths.
The ministry has also revealed that the five deaths recorded, include two young people from Lusaka and Mongu districts.
Speaking during the daily COVID-19 briefing in Lusaka yesterday, Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya said of the new cases, 130 people have been admitted out of which 72 are on oxygen.
Dr Chilufya explained that the new COVID-19 variant is affecting all races especially young people, including those without co-morbidities.
He expressed fear that the increase in the number of cases might overwhelm the health system if low levels of compliance to COVID-19 prevent measures among citizens, continues.
The Minister disclosed that the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) has SINCE increased the number of bed spaces for COVID-19 patients from 40 to 120, in order to decongest the Levy Mwanawasa Hospital.
He warned that Lusaka is the epicenter of the second wave of COVID-19, adding that most of the cases recorded are from the city.
Dr Chilufya has since advised members of the public to avoid non-essential travel, as well as being found in crowded places, to include events such as funerals, weddings and other social gatherings, as they are potentially hot spots for COVID-19.
”If we do not disrupt community transmission, we will overwhelm our health facilities. Remember, we have other public health diseases to deal with such as TB, Malaria, HIV AIDS and others. So it is important that we continue focusing on other public health challenges,” he said.
He noted that the ever rising number of cases should raise concern among members of the public, whom he said should be cautious and act responsibly.
Dr Chilufya highlighted that from the new recorded cases, one was brought in dead, while others were from health facilities and community screening from different districts across the country.
He explained that 103 districts have recorded COVID-19 cases with not less than 30 districts recording new cases every day.
He thanked the health workers who have remained committed to duty, regardless of a few who have tested positive to the virus.
Meanwhile, the Minister has directed hospitals not to allow unnecessary entry, adding that hospitals have become highly contagious with the disease.
He urged the public to act responsibly and follow the health guidelines if the disease is to be stopped from spreading.
“We have seen low levels of compliance to the health guidelines by the public. We are therefore calling on community leaders, church leaders and other stakeholders to help in sensitizing the communities about COVID-19 in order for us to protect the public,” he said.
He advised business owners to ensure that the lives of the people are protected even as they run the economy of the country.
Zambia yesterday January 5th, recorded 652 new COVID-19 cases with 14 deaths and 297 recoveries.
The country has since recorded 22,645 cumulatively with 19,526 total recoveries and 412 total COVID-19 deaths.