Zambia has in the last 24 hours recorded a total of 1,029 new COVID-19 positive cases from the 11, 855 tests conducted, bringing the cumulative number of cases to 25, 236.

Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya says the country has further recorded a total of 18 deaths in the last 24 hours with 11 brought in dead (BID) and 7 being facility deaths.

Speaking during the routine COVID-19 update in Lusaka today, Dr Chilufya noted that Zambia’s coronavirus outbreak has been escalating at an alarming rate with the country recording the highest number of deaths and critical cases within the 24 hour period.

The Minister stated that the cases were identified through various surveillance platforms in the community, health facilities and at points of entry including five districts that stood top.

“The top five districts with highest cases include Lusaka with 379, Kabwe 122, Livingstone 67, Ndola 56 and Solwezi 40,” he said.

Dr Chilufya noted that in terms of clinical update, 171 patients are admitted to various COVID-19 facilities in the country out of which 96 are on oxygen therapy.

He added that 396 people have been discharged from various facilities, bringing the cumulative number of recoveries to 20, 349 with 441 fatalities.

The Minister further indicated that the status of the epidemic in the country needs an urgent and effective collaborative and coordinated response approach.

“We are all called upon at individual and collective level to act in solidarity to ensure that we do not spread COVID-19 or contract the disease,” Dr Chilufya said.

And Zambia National Public Health Institute Director Victor Mukonka noted that the new variant of COVID-19 is contagious and spread quickly.

Professor Mukonka added that the COVID-19 pandemic is a severe formal disease that is causing high mortality, and has since advised the public to avoid unnecessary movements, while paying attention to serious adherence to health guidelines.

“This pandemic is facilitated very quickly through super spreaders such as weddings, parties and many other gatherings, so avoid crowded places, avoid restaurants. Let’s stay home,” he stressed.

Earlier Dr Chilufya called for a moment of silence in honour of Professor Kumar Baboo who succumbed to COVID-19 yesterday at Levy Mwanawasa Hospital and Mr Ezekiel Sakala a dentist and Office Administrator in Eastern Province who also died of the pandemic.

Dr Chilufya said, Professor Baboo who was a regular at COVID-19 updates played a critical role in many aspects of public health including the fight against COVID-19 outbreak and taught generations of medical doctors in the country.