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The Covid-19 third wave has continued ravaging the country and has claimed 41 lives in the last 24 hours, Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary – Technical Services Dr Kennedy Malama.

Dr Malama also disclosed that World Health Organization has announced a 52 per cent increase in COVID-19 cases in Africa in the past one week.

Speaking when he updated the nation on Covid-19 situation yesterday, Dr Malama said 1,816 new cases out of 11,589 tests were recorded, representing a positivity of 16 %. The new cases were among the following categories; facility screening (1,221), routine screening (435), Healthcare Contacts to known cases (126), Point-of-entry (17) Healthcare Worker screening (13), and Pre-travel screening (4). The breakdown of the new cases by province are as follows: Central 152, Copperbelt 377, Eastern 225, Luapula 43, Lusaka 201, Muchinga 82, Northern 64, North-western 100, Southern 317 and Western 255. The cumulative number of COVID-19 cases is now 126,973.

He stated that the cumulative number of COVID-19 related deaths recorded stood at 1,595.

He said that the numbers keep on increasing and that experience is not unique to Zambia but a Regional and global phenomena.

 “As we push to take the fight away from our hospitals and into the community, we continue to hold engagement meetings with gate keepers of our communities including the traditional leaders. We engaged our Traditional leaders yesterday in a fruitful discussion on heightening community participation in the fight against COVID-19. We are pleased to note the interest to partner with Government in the fight against the COVID-19 which is affecting both the rural and urban districts of our country.

“We have planned similar engagement meetings with leaders of Marketers, other traders and transporters.  Through these engagement efforts, we will enhance our risk communication to effect behavior change that will turn our situation around and close all the leaking taps of community transmission,” he said.

He said that government was on track to resume its vaccination programme next week on Wednesday  June 23, for dose two of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Dr Malama noted that under the COVAX facility, the 108,000 additional doses of AstraZeneca are expected next week.

He assured the general public and placed on record that government will continue to acquire vaccines in order to have enough for those yet to receive and eventually attain herd immunity.

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