GOVERNMENT has disclosed that it cannot cope with mass COVID-19 testing due to local and global demand of diagnostic test kits.
Minister of Health Sylvia Masebo says owing to increased community transmissions of the virus, her ministry has since revised testing criteria which will only prioritise those with symptoms.
Speaking at a media briefing this morning, Ms Masebo said the move is a logical approach adding that one in every three to four Zambians is infected, as such government cannot cope with mass test screening.
She said government will therefore prioritize testing individuals and grouping with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 such as individuals who are at risk of developing severe disease.
Ms Masebo said among those who will be prioritised are health care workers, those admitted in healthcare facilities with various ailments and symptomatic individuals in an institutionalised setting such as prisons, boarding schools and training camps.
“We advise that if you are a contact to a known case or at risk of acquiring the disease but have no symptoms, you do not need to be tested but must observe enhanced prevention measures. If you develop symptoms at any point, please get to the health facility for examination and possible testing,” she said.
And the Minister has disclosed that in the last 24 hours the country has recorded 1,485 new COVID-19 cases out of 5,389 tests conducted countrywide, giving a national positivity of 28%.
She said five deaths have been recorded in the last 24 hours, with two classified as COVID-19 deaths and three as COVID-19 associated deaths.
The Minister further said in the last 24 hours,a total 20,526 vaccine dose records which brings the total number of doses that have been administered to date to 1,941,928.
(Mwebantu, Monday, January 10th, 2022)
Two die, as COVID-19 cases increase
TWO people both aged 83-years-old have died after being admitted following a positive test for COVID-19.
The two, a male and female of Ndola and Kasempa respectively were admitted to Ndola Teaching Hospital (NTH) and Kasempa District Hospital.
Minister of Health Sylvia Masebo has since cautioned and advised members of the public to adhere to COVID-19 precautionary measures as the pandemic is currently on the increase.
Ms Masebo noted that the country, since May 16th, this year has recorded 1,504 cases compared to 195 recorded cases in the preceding three weeks, showing an increase in the pandemic.
“Our test positivity rate over the last two weeks has averaged at five percent. further highlighting this increase. Sadly, we have lost two patients to COVID-19 within the past week, after having not recorded any lives lost to COVID-19 in over 74 days. One of the deceased is an 83-year-old man who was admitted to Ndola Teaching hospital and demised on 11th June 2023 and the other also 83-year female who was admitted to Kasempa District Hospital and demised yesterday,” she said.
Ms Masebo in giving a ministerial statement in parliament today said following a matter of Urgent Public Importance raised by the Member of Parliament for Katombola, Mr Clement Andeleki, she noted that the country has an increased trend of COVID-19 cases since May 16th, 2023.
“We have recorded 1,504 cases,compared to only 195 cases recorded the preceding three weeks. This clearly shows an increasing incidence of cases. In the last 24 hours alone, Zambia recorded 178 new cases out of 2,320 tests done representing a daily positivity of eight percent,” she said.
Ms Masebo said the new cases were reported across 31 Districts in six provinces being Copperbelt 69 cases out of 385 tested, Luapula nine out 124 tested, Lusaka 29 out 460 tested, Muchinga five out 129 tested and North-westem 15 out of 892.
She noted that Southern Province had 51 out 310 and Western zero out of 37 tested.
“Currently there are 794 active cases, 12 of whom are admitted to hospitals in Lusaka, Copperbelt and North- western provinces. We admitted seven new cases in the last 24 hours,” she said.
Ms Masebo noted that of the patients currently admitted, only one patient is classified as critical.
“Of the admitted, three are vaccinated against COVID-19. Madam Speaker. We have not recorded any new COVID-19 variant. The Zambia National Public Health Reference Laboratory reported that out of the 57 samples sequenced, all the cases are of the Omicron variant,” she said.
She said that the rise in cases may be attributed to the cold weather, a season associated with increasing respiratory infections.
Ms Masebo explained that while the Government has not put up any restrictions, we encourage those not yet vaccinated to do so and be protected from severe COVID-19 disease.
She further called on people to mask up and practice hygiene practices such as washing of hands and use of sanitisers and further encouraged those that are not vaccinated to get the vaccine and also the booster shot.
(Mwebantu, Friday, 16th June, 2023)
COVID-19 cases worries Health Minister
THE Ministry of health says it has seen an increase in the number of COVID-19 daily cases, test positivity and the spread of disease across the country.
Minister of health Sylvia Masabo said that in the last 24 hours the country recorded 311 new COVID-19 cases and three deaths.
She said two of the three deaths are COVID-19 deaths saying the individuals died due to complications directly attributed to COVID-19.
Ms Masabo said in a statement that the cumulative number of confirmed cases recorded in the country is 336649 with 330658 (98%) recoveries.
“We currently have 1948 active cases, 29 of whom are admitted to hospital,eight of these being new admissions in the last 24 hours. Of those admitted, nine are on oxygen therapy and three are now in critical condition,”she said.
She also said that the current prevailing COVID 19 cases are reportedly driven by a sub-variant of the Omicron virus which is now called XBB.
Ms Masabo said the COVID-19 virus keeps generating new forms of itself as it continues to multiply across the globe.
She said similar to the Omicron virus, the XBB is said to have a high ability to pass from one person to another and here in Zambia we have confirmed that the current increase in the number of cases we are seeing is driven by this XBB.
Ms Masabo said the Ministry and other stakeholders have instituted measures to protect people from getting COVID-19.
She said some of the interventions were strengthened community and facility surveillance to ensure prompt identification and reporting of cases and intensified testing among other measures.
Ms Masabo also urged the public to be conscious of cholera and other diarrheal diseases.
She said every person must manage their waste saying the state of cities, markets, bus stops and community gathering places must be improved
(Mwebantu, Friday, 13th January, 2023)
COVID cases at Hillcrest Boarding school contained
OVER 20 cases of COVID-19 at Hillcrest Boarding school in Livingstone were recorded last week.
However, the education authorities have said that the cases have been contained and a total recovery rate of patients attained.
District Education Board Secretary (DEBS) Aiden Kambunga said more than 20 pupils tested positive for COVID-19 at Hillcrest Boarding school.
“We had roughly over 20 pupils that tested positive for COVID-19. Fortunately, the pupils have all recovered and with help of the Ministry of Health, we managed to contain the situation.
The school has been fumigated and we have since not recorded any new cases,” he said.
He added that the education body will ensure that all COVID-19 guidelines are followed and adhered to in schools, because education cannot be put on hold again.
(Mwebantu, Sunday, May, 29th, 2022)