Minister of Health Jonas Chanda has revealed that Zambia’s cumulative number of confirmed Covid -19 cases has now reached 74,503 from the time the pandemic broke out in the country almost a year ago.

And Dr. Chanda has said during the last 24 hours, the country recorded 609 new cases out of 4,144 tests conducted. He said in a press statement that Copperbelt province recorded the highest number with 172, while Lusaka had 101, North- Western 85, Eastern 79, Northern 58, Southern 36, Western 25, Luapula 24, Muchinga 18 and Central Province 10.

“We recorded four deaths from Eastern Province, One from Lusaka as well as Northern and Western Provinces,” he said.

Dr. Chanda disclosed that this is the lowest recorded mortality figure since the start of the second wave in over two months. He said the cumulative number of Covid-19 related deaths recorded to date is 1,020. These are classified as 547 Covid-19 deaths and 473 Covid-19 associated deaths.

The minister also revealed that a total of 1,001 Covid-19 patients have been discharged from both Covid-19 isolation facilities and home management. This brings the cumulative number of recoveries to 57,944, representing 92 percent.

“We currently have 5,539 active cases. Of these, 330 are admitted to our isolation facilities with 249 on oxygen therapy whilst 37 are in a critical condition. The remaining 5,209 cases are under community management,” he disclosed.

Meanwhile, Dr. Chanda has disclosed that a Cabinet memo outlining recommendations for the Covid-19 vaccine acquisition and deployment is scheduled for consideration by Cabinet soon.

“We remain cognisant of the challenges being faced the world over around issues of Covid-19 vaccine efficacy against some coronavirus variants, which information will play a key role in recommended vaccine choices for Zambia as informed by scientific evidence from genomic sequencing “‘ he said.

Dr. Chanda revealed that his ministry has received expressions of interest and offers of support from a number of private companies and foreign missions based in Zambia to support the Covid-19 vaccine acquisition and deployment which is awaiting cabinet approval.

With regards to surveillance efforts, the Minister of Health stated that his ministry continues to consult and explore public-private partnerships for establishment of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing facilities at point of entries, borders and airports to stop the importation of Covid -19 disease variants and diseases.

He has since urged the general citizenry to continue adhering to the Covid-19 guidelines to prevent further infection.