We’re not happy with our current testing levels – Malama

GOVERNMENT has no capacity to conduct more coronavirus tests, Ministry of Health permanent secretary in charge of technical services Kennedy Malama has revealed.

And the country has recorded another facility death associated with the coronavirus.

Giving a coronavirus daily update yesterday, Dr Malama said the Ministry of Health was seeking to have 5,000 people tested and results known within 24 hours.

“… As we updated yesterday (Wednesday), we would want, meanwhile, within 24 hours to test 5,000. Our ultimate, 10,000 tests within 24 hours once all these platforms are running because we are not happy with our current testing levels,” he said. “We are also aware, there have been complaints from some members of the public that we are delaying to give results. One of the reasons is the inadequate capacity, which we are working on to address it.”

Dr Malama said the ministry would continue to invest in COVID-19 fighting equipment.

“Now, the key question is, who should be tested? We don’t have all the testing reagents we need; we don’t have all the equipment we need. We’ll continue over time to invest in this so that we can reach our optimal levels,” he explained. “The approach we are pursuing as a country is that, one; we need to prioritise patients who are attending healthcare facilities, because when someone goes to hospital, it’s easy to get them. But also most likely, they’re not feeling well; they may be carrying Covid. So that will be a special group for us.”

And Dr Malama revealed that the country had recorded another facility based COVID-19 death.

He said the country had also recorded 306 new cases from 1,243 tests conducted in 24 hours.

“We’ve registered another facility death in Levy Mwanawasa University Teaching Hospital isolation centre. The cumulative number of deaths associated with COVID-19 now stands at 149,” said Dr Malama. “Let me also mention that from the investigations and the classifications we’ve done, we are now at 41 Covid deaths and 98, which are associated deaths; the 10 deaths are yet to be classified. Again just to reemphasise. The cumulative number of Covid cases in the country stands at 5,555, including 149 deaths with 3,289 recoveries.”

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