Lusaka ~ Wed, 9 Jun 2021
By Brightwell Chabusha
Government has cautioned members of the public against hosting super spreader events as the country continues to record a sharp rise in the number of COVID-19 cases as the last 24 hours saw the number jump to over 1,700.
Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary for Technical Services Dr Kennedy Malama has reiterated in a statement today the need for the spread of the pandemic to be mitigated by closing the taps of community transmission.
Dr Malama disclosed that the country has in the last 24 hours recorded 1,767 new confirmed cases out of 14,445 tests conducted, representing 12% positivity.
He added that three people have died in the mentioned period of time, all from Lusaka Province while 197 have been discharged.
The Permanent Secretary also said that the situation in COVID-19 isolation and treatment facilities although in line with earlier projections remains cause for concern.
He explained that the country stands a real risk of overwhelming Health Care system particularly case management if the situation of preventing and mitigating infections in the community is not collectively and expeditiously addressed.
Dr Malama added that the COVID-19 isolation and treatment facilities, including the private hospitals, are filling up at a fast rate, with 88 new admissions recorded in the last 24hrs – This is unprecedented.
“We reiterate that we must stop the spread of COVID-19 by closing the taps of community transmission. Currently, only Northern and Muchinga provinces report positivity rates less than 5%, a clear indication that the rates of community transmission have drastically increased countrywide, compared to just three short weeks ago when we had a nationwide positivity of between 1-5%,” he said.
“We therefore urge the public to be weary of hosting super spreader events such as weddings, kitchen parties, amatebeto, Workshops, meetings, and other large gatherings which are all springboards of infection.”
Dr Malama however indicated that the public that the directives issued during the last address to the nation on curbing the pandemic by President Edgar Lungu remain in full effect.
“We therefore implore all relevant line Ministries and stakeholders to enforce them accordingly,” he said.
“We urge our local authorities and leaders in congregate settings to step up the efforts and ensure implementation of interventions at community level as well as enforce adherence to the public health guidelines including provision of accessible handwashing facilities particularly in markets, bus stations and trading places, correct and consistent wearing of facemasks and regular cleaning and disinfection of markets, bus stops and other public spaces.”
Meanwhile, Dr Malama disclosed that the Africa Union / Africa CDC Trusted Travel platform roll out plan has reached an advanced stage, with a list of multidisciplinary and multisectoral focal point persons identified and key staff scheduled to be trained in the coming five days.
He said the Ministry will issue a travel advisory in this regard soon to ensure that travelers are kept abreast of the developments.
The Permanent Secretary also said government is scheduled to launch the platform on 17th June, 2021.
“This platform will make convenient travel arrangements for those in coming and exiting the country,” he said.
“Yesterday, the Africa Union / Africa CDC launched the partnership with the MasterCard foundation worth $1.3 billion, which is expected to increase Africa’s access to vaccines. It will cover Resource Mobilization, procurement, Vaccine Research and Development.”