Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary for Technical Services Kennedy Malam has announced that the government has secured resources under the World Bank for the creation of additional Covid-19 isolation spaces using pre-fabricated structures.
Dr. Malama said the Zambian health care system has been overwhelmed with increased admissions of Covid-19 patients hence the need to create more isolation spaces in the shortest possible time.
“Within just three weeks since the onset of the third wave, our health care system has been overwhelmed with increased admissions, very sick patients, and deaths. This situation is being seen from the primary health care level to our tertiary institutions,” he said.
He said in a statement to ZANIS today that the current Covid-19 situation has also caused a great demand for oxygen.
“We are scheduled to purchase over 2,000 oxygen cylinders under the Global Fund, even as we look to increase the oxygen production and oxygen cylinders filling capacity,” he said.
Dr. Malama said at the peak of the second wave of the pandemic in Zambia, there were a total of 520 in-patients while today, barely three weeks into the third wave, the country has recorded 664 patients.
He explained that the current situation was as a result of many members of the public who have continued to flout the prescribed public health measures. These careless people have caused the careful one to either be infected or affected by the Covid-19 diseases.
“What we see today is that members of the public expect restrictions and indeed a lockdown to be effected for us to stem the Covid-19 infections,” he observed.
Dr. Malama said, “…we would like to remind our people that government is seriously considering imposing these restrictions at the rate we are progressing as a country”.
He said although striking a balance between saving lives, livelihoods, schools and the economy remained a top priority for government, it will not allow a situation where people continue flouting the public health guidelines leading to spiral of Covid-19 infections.
The Permanent Secretary revealed that while health experts foresaw the third wave months ago, many members of the public continued to flout the prescribed public health measures thereby endangering many lives.
He has since urged the law enforcement wings within the Covid-19 multisectoral response to ramp up the interventions at community level through effective engagement and participation of various stakeholders.
The Permanent Secretary further called for the need to fight the pandemic at the community level by preventing infection and disease rather than responding from health care facilities.
And Dr. Malama disclosed that in the last 24 hours, Zambia recorded 1,388 new confirmed cases out of 7,110 tests conducted, bringing the cumulative number of confirmed cases recorded to date to 113,134.
He said cases by province are Central 178, Copperbelt 122, Eastern 86, 15 were recorded in Luapula, Lusaka recorded the highest positivity rate with 599 cases, Muchinga 24, Northern 13, North Western 18, Southern 214, while 119 were recorded in Western Province.
Dr. Malama added that the country has recorded 27 new deaths in the last 24 hours, of which seven are from Levy Mwanawasa, four from Maina Soko, three from University Teaching Hospital, Fairview and Chipata First Level hospitals recorded one each.
Others included one case from Kanyama First Level, Chawama First Level one, Kabwe Bwacha one, two deaths from Kitwe, Ronald Ross one, Lumezi District recorded one, Isoka one, Livingstone one, Choma one and one death from Sesheke district.
He disclosed that there were 12,724 active cases, out of which 12,060 are under community management, while 664 are admitted in the Covid-19 isolation facilities.
“Of the admissions, 154 were newly admitted patients within the last 24 hours. Among those currently under admission, 442 are on oxygen therapy and 105 are in critical condition,” he explained.
The Permanent Secretary further revealed that a total of 1,238 discharges were made from both the Covid-19 isolation facilities and home management, bringing the cumulative number of recoveries to 98,994.