Ministry of Health has called on politicians to avoid campaign rallies and any other mass gatherings that have the potential to escalate the spread of Covid-19.

Ministry permanent secretary for Technical Services Dr Kennedy Malama’s call comes in the wake of exponential rise in Covid-19 cases.

Last week, President Lungu urged for the banning of political campaigns to avoid spreading coronavirus, a statement that received a lot of disapproval particularly from the opposition.

But Dr Malama today contended that coronavirus was on the rise in the country, citing mass gatherings as major spreaders of the virus.

“Today, as we see sustained high number Of COVID 19 cases across the country with increasing trend on admissions, we reiterate that the game changer to the COVID 19 fight is closing the tap of new infections through heightened adherence to the public health measures.

It’s unequivocal that super spreader events enable rapid transmission and mass infection of people hence our repeated and passionate calls for us all to avoid the weddings, kitchen parties, chilangamulilos, amatebeto, political public rallies and any other high-risk congregate settings which may fuel infections,” he continued.

“We further appeal in addition to the above to shopping malls, restaurants, social places owners to take responsibility and not to leave saving lives to chance as prosperity will judge us harshly.

We urge authorities to ensure workplaces, learning institutions, sporting activities among other social activities are made safe and don’t become focus of infection. Our Health care workers continue to protect the lives of our people even as we see surging numbers.

Our Heroes and heroes are these health care workers who have put the health and wellbeing of fellow Zambians at the centre not only in fighting COVID 19 but providing other health services be it emergencies or routine and we applaud them abundantly.”

Dr Malama revealed that 299 new cases and two deaths have been recorded in the last 24 hours.

“Sadly, we recorded two new deaths in the last 24 hours, one from the Levy Mwanawasa treatment facility in Lusaka and the other from Rufunsa District in Lusaka Province. Both deaths have been classified as COVID-19 deaths again an indication that we remain vulnerable be it in urban or rural parts of our country,” he explained.

“In the last 24 hours, we recorded Two Hundred and Ninety-Nine (299) new confirmed cases out of 5,553 tests conducted (5.4% positivity). This brings the cumulative number of confirmed cases recorded to date to 95,050.

The breakdown of the new cases and positivity (given in brackets) by province are as follows: Central 20 (9.6%), Copperbelt 8 (1.0%), Eastern 33 (10.2%), Luapula 1 (0.3%), Lusaka 121 (6.7%), Muchinga 2 (1.9%), Northern 3 (1.4%), North-western 24 (3.9%), Southern 65 (8.9%) and Western 22 (5.9%).

Today’s new cases were reported from forty (40) districts, with the majority coming from Lusaka (101), Chikankata (34), Kazungula (26), Kasenengwa (16), Chongwe (13), Kabwe (12), Mambwe (11), Zambezi (9) and Lukulu (6), while the remaining 31 districts recorded fewer than five cases each.”

He observed that the rise in infections was symptomatic of the fact that the country was in danger should people continue with mass gatherings.

“The rate of increase in (Covid-19) case numbers calls for country agility in adherence to public health guidelines and preparedness and response interventions.

Provinces with no admitted COVID 19 cases should use this opportunity using a multisectoral approach to prepare and respond accordingly,” urged Dr Malama.

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