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Government closing down COVID-19 isolation centres

Filed under: Breaking News,Health & Nutrition |
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The Minister of Health Jonas Chanda says government is winding down operations at some of the country’s COVID-19 isolation centres, while continuing taking stock of the equipment and human resource which had been heavily invested in anticipation of a possible “Third Wave”.

He says the number of Covid-19 cases requiring admission has continued to drop, with the number being under one hundred (100) the past six days, and today seeing no admissions in Central, Luapula and Western provinces, and similarly no admissions outside Lusaka district in our other isolation facilities in Lusaka province.

Presenting a ministerial statement to parliament, Chanda said training of health staff in emergency response also remains key, not only for a possible COVID-19 “Third Wave” but for other eventual disease outbreaks.

He thanked all the frontline health workers in the entire response, saying it has not been easy to work under emergency conditions for over one year now.

MINISTERIAL STATEMENT ON COVID-19 IN ZAMBIA, LUSAKA (Friday 2nd April, 2021)

Good morning members of the press, country men and women.

The number of Covid-19 cases requiring admission continues to reduce, with this number being under one hundred (100) the past six days, and today seeing no admissions in Central, Luapula and Western provinces, and similarly no admissions outside Lusaka district in our other isolation facilities in Lusaka province.

As we wind down the operations of some of our Covid-19 isolation centres, we continue to take stock of the equipment and human resource which we have heavily invested in, so as to be adequately prepared for a possible “Third Wave” which may require us to scale-up our capacity once more.

Training of our health staff in emergency response also remains key, not only for a possible COVID-19 “Third Wave” but for other eventual disease outbreaks. On that note, we wish to wholeheartedly thank all the frontline health workers in the entire response. It has not been easy to work under emergency conditions for over one year now.

We thank you for your efforts to save the lives of our people and subsequently turning the situation around, all while managing the other disease burdens such as infectious diseases (HIV, TB, Malaria), non communicable diseases (cardiovascular diseases e.g hypertension; diabetes, cancers) and Maternal and Child Health issues.

The Ministry of Health continues to make headway in preparation for the roll-out of the Covid-19 Vaccination Programme, with our Communication Strategy playing a key role in ensuring that our people are well informed on the science and the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccines.

Following successful engagements with the Media, we have planned engagements with the Clergy and Traditional leaders at national level, as well as at provincial and district level to ensure that our efforts are decentralised as behaviour change can only happen using a “bottom-up approach.”

A lot has been said on the issue of the Covid-19 vaccines, both on the local and international stage. The Zambian government, under His Excellency President Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu’s leadership, is committed to evidence-based decision making informed by Science. As we continue to monitor the developing trends and headlines around the COVID-19 vaccines, we will keep the Zambian public well informed.

Allow me to update you on the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations on vaccination with the Oxford/Astra Zeneca. Following the review and comments related to the report on 18 people with blood clotting complications out of a total of 20 million vaccinated persons with AstraZeneca in Europe, the guidance from WHO is that this picture is actually similar to that of non-recipients of vaccines, and the World Health Organisation has indicated that blood clotting events occur frequently amongst the global populations with a condition known as venous thromboembolism being the third most common cardiovascular disease even before the COVID-19 occurrence and the vaccinations with Astra Zeneca. The WHO maintains that the benefits of Astra Zeneca far outweigh any perceived risks and recommends the continued use of the vaccine to save lives.

Countrymen and women, this long Easter weekend, we have enhanced our surveillance activities including in congregate settings including churches and institutions of higher learning. In the past, we have observed a disappointing level of laxity among people gathering at social events. Please note that the Covid-19 public health guidelines have NOT changed.

The five golden rules remain the bedrock of our efforts to curb community transmission. We must maintain our positivity below the recommended 5% across all the provinces if we are to further reduce community transmission.

Countrymen and women, the COVID-19 situation update for the last 24 hours is as follows:

We recorded One Hundred and Eighty-One (181) new cases out of 4,814 tests conducted (4% positivity). This brings the cumulative number of confirmed cases recorded to date to 88,730. The new cases and positivity broken down by province are as follows: 39 (9%) Central, 31 (1%) Lusaka, 22 (10%) North-western, 20 (6%) Luapula, 16 (7%) Eastern, 16 (3%) Southern, 14 (7%) Western, 10 (4%) Muchinga, 8 (6%) Northern, and 5 (3%) Copperbelt.

Regrettably, we recorded three (3) new deaths from Lusaka (2), and North-western (1) provinces. The cumulative number of COVID-19 related deaths recorded now stands at 1,215, classified as 678 COVID deaths and 537 COVID-19 associated deaths.

A combined 127 discharges were recorded from both the COVID-19 isolation facilities and home management, bringing the cumulative number of recoveries to 84,825 (96%). We currently have 2,690 active cases, of whom 2,610 (97%) are under community management and 80 (3%) are admitted to our COVID-19 isolation facilities. Among those admitted, 60 (71%) are on Oxygen therapy and 10 (13%) are in critical condition.

This long Easter weekend, with a number of social gatherings planned, we wish to remind our people that these congregate settings haven been proven to lead to super spread of COVID-19, as many people attend these events with poor adherence to mask wearing, hand hygiene, physical distancing and the public health guidance. The reduction in our case positivity is not cause for us to let down our guard. I earnestly appeal to each and every Zambian to be on guard this Easter weekend. Do not give in to laxity. Be a brother and sister’s keeper by adhering to the simple yet effective five golden rules.

Remember to: 1) Mask up correctly and consistently; 2) Maintain physical distance; 3) Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or use hand sanitizer; 4) Avoid crowded places if possible, particularly super spreader events, or stay at home; and 5) Seek medical attention early if you are symptomatic.

Together we can beat COVID-19. Have a safe Easter weekend.

God bless you all and God bless Zambia.

Hon. Dr. Jonas Chanda, MP.
Minister of Health

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Start: 2019-07-01 End: 2019-07-31