The government has warned private hospitals and clinics against profiting from the Covid 19 pandemic that continues to rage the country and the globe.
Minister of Health Jonas Chanda said the government is shocked that some private health facilities are exploiting Zambians by charging exorbitant prices for rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) for the Covid 19 pandemic.
Dr Chanda sounded the warning when he gave an update on the Covid 19 situation in the country.
“Countrymen and women, we must never put profits above patients’ rights, lives and wellbeing. As per our government mandate, we will be monitoring all public and private health facilities to ensure that patients are not exploited,” said Dr Chanda.
The Minister disclosed that Zambia recorded 1,083 new cases of the pandemic across the country in the last 24 hours out of 5,217 tests conducted bringing the cumulative confirmed Covid 19 cases in the country to 67, 681 since the outbreak was detected in the country in March last year.
ZANIS reports that Dr Chanda said Lusaka province detected the highest numbers with 359 cases recorded, with Central province coming second with 177 cases, North western Province 136, Northern Province 107 while Copperbelt recorded 89 cases, Eastern Province 75, Muchinga Province 64, Southern Province 46, Western Province 24 and Luapula Province 6 cases.
The Minister announced that 17 new Covid 19 related deaths were reported across the country with Copperbelt Province recording 9, Lusaka Province 4, while Eastern, Muchinga and Northern Province and Northwestern provinces each reporting 1 death.
Dr Chanda said the death toll stands at 931 deaths, with 481 deaths classified as covid deaths while 450 have been categorized as Covid 19 associated deaths.
He disclosed that 1,313 patients were discharged from both home management and Covid 19 isolation facilities in the last days bringing the cumulative recoveries to 61,302 while active cases stand 5,448.
Dr Chanda noted that while a significant number of Covid 19 patients continue to remain under community management, 372 patients are admitted to Covid 19 Isolation facilities while 263 are on oxygen support with 51 in critical condition.
The minister assured Zambians that the safety of learners in schools, colleges and universities remains a top priority for government and that his ministry and the ministries of general and higher education will continue with ongoing compliance monitoring and will not hesitate to close down any school failing to adhere to health safety guidelines.
Dr Chanda paid glowing tribute to cooperating partners for their unwavering support to Zambia’s Covid 19 response.
He said the surveillance team has performed well in tracking Covid 19 cases while researches have made commendable progress in genomic sequencing and the Covid 19 prevalence survey.
He also commended traditional and religious leaders for their pivotal role in effecting behavioural change in communities, whose efforts he said should be emulated by community stakeholders in bus stations and markets among other places in the fight against the Covid 19 pandemic.
Dr Chanda urged the general public to continue observing prescribed public health measures and guidelines among them masking up, hand sanitizing, avoiding crowded places and safe use of proven home remedies such as steaming.