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Lusaka back as Covid hotspot, says Chilufya

HEALTH minister Chitalu Chilufya says Lusaka has come back as a hotspot for the coronavirus pandemic, as the country records 324 new cases in 11 days.

Giving a coronavirus update in Lusaka yesterday, Dr Chilufya said the country had also recorded further COVID-19 related deaths.

“Zambia has in the last 11 days recorded a surge in the number of Covid cases and Covid-related deaths; recording a total of 324 cases and 18 Covid-related deaths, 14 of which have been brought-in-dead. Lusaka district is back as hotspot, recording an increased number of cases in the last 11 days,” he said. “Cumulatively, in the last 11 days, we have recorded 1,895 cases, with a total of 18 deaths. Now, this brings the number of deaths cumulatively to 42 while we have recorded a total of 1,412 recoveries from the time the epidemic started. In the last 11 days, 153 people have recovered, and that contributes to the 1,412 cases that have recovered.”

Dr Chilufya disaggregated the recorded positive cases as, ‘’one, contacts to known cases, and these are 67; two, those that were picked out of health facility-based screening, and that’s 48; number three, truck drivers that were picked out at points of entry or various points of screening. And these were 63. And then those that were picked out of the various points where we were doing community screening, and those were 105. Health workers that have been screened again routinely; the number is nine.”

He said Lusaka had also recorded the highest number of deaths since the pandemic broke out.

“Our analysis of the deaths by geographical area shows that Lusaka recorded 31 out of the 42 deaths. Mongu – three, Ndola, five, Kitwe, two, and Kafue, one. If we look at the age range of the cases that we have recorded as deaths, they range from two years to 88 years. Again, if we further dig in into the causes of deaths of these individuals, we see that the vast majority are those that have underlying medical conditions,” Dr Chilufya said. “And these are being picked up as immune suppression, mostly HIV/AIDS, diabetes, hypertension and heart diseases, various non-communicable diseases, kidney disease, malaria, brain tumor, pneumonia, TB, alcohol abuse, and of grave concern are sudden deaths with no known symptoms.”

And Dr Chilufya expressed concern that health guidelines were not being adhered to.

“Observations made in Zambia have shown laxity in compliance to public health and social measures. Less people are wearing masks in public today, less public places are enforcing public health and social measures, including mandatory hand washing. People are gathering in public places such as restaurants, trading places, markets and public transport without adhering to social measures and public health measures,” said Dr Chilufya. “We would like to sound a warning today, that at this space we will continue to see increase in the number of cases, and in the number of deaths.”

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