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Please don’t whip people, found flouting the COVID-19 rules, President Lungu counsels



PRESIDENT Edgar Lungu says agencies entrusted to enforce the COVID-19 guidelines should refrain from abusing and harassing citizens found flouting the rules.
And  the President says measures he announced last year to stem the spread of COVID-19 are still in force and all citizens must comply, stating that if they do not, he will announce stringent measures to protect populations from the pandemic.
President Lungu said it is regrettable that enforcement officers have lately abused or humiliated citizens found flouting COVID- 19 guidelines.
He said enforcement officers can make citizens abide by the COVID-19 guidelines without necessarily harassing them.
President Lungu has, however, said the number of people that have contracted COVID-19 since the turn of the year and those who have died is of great concern.
He said there is correlation between the high numbers of cases and the relaxed observance of COVID-19 guidelines in the current spike.
“Arguably we dropped the guard. The COVID-19 guidelines I had announced last year as recommended by health experts were largely ignored and we forgot about the ‘New normal’ towards the end of 2020,” the President said.
President Lungu added that the festive season came with partying and overcrowding with little observance of the COVID-19 health guidelines.
“In September during my Address to Parliament, I partially reopened bars, taverns and nightclubs with serious caution that all covid-19 health guidelines are strictly adhered to. These outlets were to operate from 18:00 hours to 23:00 from Friday to Sunday.
“This was on a pilot basis and I said should there be any flouting of these public health guidelines, I will be left with no option but to close them again,” he said.
President Lungu said at no time did he allow the outlets to open daily but this is what is obtaining at the moment leading to the situation citizens are in.
The Head of State has since made a clarion call aligned to the Public Health Act CAP. 295 of the Laws of Zambia and COVID- 19 associated Statutory Instruments number 21, 22 and 62 of 2020.
He said the law demands that all citizens must wear masks and practice good hand hygiene when in public places and gatherings. Masks must be worn correctly if they are to provide the intended protection.
President said the statutory further requires that all public facilities and hosts of public gatherings must ensure provision of hand washing facilities or alcohol-based hand sanitisers and enforce the use of masks in these facilities.
He said the local authorities should facilitate disinfection of conveyances and public places including markets, bus stops and stations, shopping malls, places of worship, schools and office places.
“The owners of the public vehicles are directed to ensure passengers wear masks and are provided with hand hygiene facilities before embarking onto the vehicles. Drivers flouting the rules will have their licences revoked,” he said.
He also reiterated that enforcement of public health measures in bars must be in place; the conditions for opening bars must be adhered to. Failure to adhere to these measures may lead to the withdrawal of trading and liquor licences.
The President also said all leaders, be it traditional, religious, political, or civil are called upon to lead their followers in adherence to public health measures.
The President said failure to follow these guidelines will invite stringent measures to curb the rise in the number of COVID-19 cases.
He further directed the Ministry of Local Government, the Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Ministry of Health to ensure bar, tavern and nightclub owners and patrons strictly observe the opening days and hours, and the public health regulations, guidelines and certifications.


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)

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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)

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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)

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