From the 600 tests that were conducted in the last 24 hours, Zambia has recorded 4 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the nation's coronavirus cases to 65.
Briefing the media this afternoon, Health Minister Dr. Chitalu Chilufya said that disclosed that 3 cases are from the mass screening in Kafue while the other case is a primary contact of the deceased from Chilenje hospital.
“The case involves a 42-year-old man of Kafue out of the mass screening, a 45-year-old man from Shikoswe in Kafue, 31-year-old female also from Shikoswe and a 22-year old male who is a primary contact of the woman who died at Chilenje level one hospital,” Dr. Chilufya said, adding that investigations have been constituted on all the positive cases to determine their contacts.
Government had to close Chilenje First Level Hospital where a coronavirus patient died after transmitting the virus to several staff members. The hospital will not admit new patients and those to be attended too are limited to maternity cases only according to a notice.
The decision comes after two Medical personnel tested positive to the virus.
The duo was managing a coronavirus patient now deceased at Chilenje First Level Hospital last week.
The 19 year old patient had attempted suicide by consuming a herbicide. The herbicide predominantly causes respiratory distress in addition to failure of other organs. She was in critical state and the hospital's specialised team did all they could to manage her condition, the ministry said in a statement.
Paraquat, the chemical the girl consumed, is a chemical herbicide, or weed killer, that's highly toxic and used all over the world. It's also known by the brand name Gramoxone. Paraquat is one of the most common herbicides used today, but it can cause fatal poisoning when ingested or inhaled. It's primarily used to control weed and grass growth.
Now it appears the teenager had transmitted the deadly disease to more than two people before breathing her last.
Dr. Chilufya noted that recoveries have continued to be made with 2 more recorded bringing the total of those discharged to 35 and, cumulatively, the cases now stands at 65, 35 recoveries, 3 deaths and 27 active cases which are all stable.
Dr. Chilufya further said that Kafue still remains a hotspot and as such, mass screening is still ongoing and further announced that similar screening exercises will be conducted in Lusaka.
“It does not help you to shun screening. You are putting your life and that of your neighbor at risk if you avoid or hide from being screened,” Dr. Chilufya said and urged people to be cooperative with all health authorities who are conducting the exercise.
Dr Chilufya emphasized that early detection of cases and isolation of positive cases to reduce human to human transmission of the virus by disinfecting public places is a priority and encouraged the need to adhere to the mandatory wearing of masks in public places.
He further assured that government is and will continue to distribute face masks as evidenced by today’s earlier distribution in Chilenje as well as other parts of the country by members of parliament and other stakeholders.
“As you can see, it is getting denser with the contacts and that is why it is important to follow all the directives to stay at home, social distancing should be followed because it is easy to transmit the virus if we do not control our movements, ” Dr Chilufya said.
On incentives for frontline health personnel, Dr. Chilufya assured that President Edgar Lungu’s commitment to incentivize health workers who are sacrifising in the fight against Coronavirus still stands and will be fufilled as he assured that the head of state recognizes and appreciates all the health workers as well as other stakeholders who are contributing in every way to the fight.