The Ministry of Health says it is not government policy for learners in both public and private schools to have a negative COVID-19 test certificate as they report back to school.
Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary for Administration Kennedy Malama, said testing for COVID-19 is not mandatory, adding that schools have only been guided to employ comprehensive COVID-19 surveillance guidelines.
Dr Malama advised school management to instead carry out the screening process.
The Permanent Secretary, in a press statement issued to ZANIS in Lusaka today, urged school authorities to seek guidance from the district and provincial health directors when faced with doubts about the screening process.
Meanwhile, Dr Malama has reiterated the government’s commitment to support frontline personnel as they execute their duties.
“The front line personnel have put up a splendid performance during previous waves but more importantly the third wave. We are truly indebted to these dedicated heroines and heroes,” he added.
Dr Malama disclosed that supervisors in various health facilities have been directed to ensure that adequate psychosocial support, including referrals are expeditiously made in order to help families who may be going through some challenging periods following the loss of the beloved ones to seek support and care in a timely manner.
He noted that during the month of July, the country saw an overall test positivity drop from 23 percent to 10 percent whereas the number of new admissions fell by 74 percent over the last four weeks.
Dr Malama confirmed that in the last 24 hours, 633 new confirmed COVID-19 cases were reported out of 5,510 tests giving a positivity of 11 percent which brings our cumulative number of confirmed cases to 197,123 cases.
He added that 10 new COVID-19 related deaths were recorded in the last 24 hours which brings the cumulative number of COVID-19 related deaths recorded to 3,422.
Dr Malama also stated that 391 patients were discharged while 4,360 remain active cases, with 3,957 under community management and 403 admitted to respective COVID-19 isolation facilities.
He added that among those currently admitted, 276 are on Oxygen therapy and 81 are in critical condition.
“As we reflect on the positive COVID-19 situation in the country, we are cognizant of the fact that the risk is still with us and we should not drop the guard. It is evident that subsequent waves have always been worse and more devastating,” he added.
Dr Malama appealed to the public to ensure that adherence to the five golden rules is observed, including consideration to be vaccinated particularly now that the vaccines are available in the country.