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ZAMBIA’S health care system is in danger of being overwhelmed at the rate patients are being admitted to health facilities, with more than 2,350 cases and 17 deaths recorded in the last 24 hours, Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary, Kennedy Malama has warned.

And the ministry of Health has restricted visitations to health institutions countrywide to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

The ministry has also, based on the current situation, suspended outpatient clinics in   tertiary and General   hospitals.

Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary, Kennedy Malama  said yesterday his is to allow appropriate deployment of staff amidst increasing cases and also to decongest   hospitals. “Provincial Health Directors and Medical Superintendents are directed to closely work with the local leadership and stakeholders to communicate and implement this directive accordingly informed by local situation.”

 Dr  Malama has attributed the brutal surge in COVID-19 cases in the country to laxity in adherence to public health guidance and the cold weather.

“Today we see a real risk of overwhelming our health care system at the rate we are receiving patients in our health facilities,” he said.

He said the situation calls for all citizens to show solidarity and save the country.

Dr Malama further appealed to politicians to reflect on their political activities being undertaken and stem the transmission of the infection.

In updating the nation yesterday, Dr Malama said the third wave was being propelled by laxity in adherence to public health guidance, the cold weather and the COVID 19 variants of concern they have detected.

Dr Malama also said the situation has continued getting worse because of the social gathering including political activities in communities which have added to the spread of the COVID 19 infections.

He announced that in the last 24 hours, Zambia recorded 2,358 new confirmed cases out of 12,064 tests conducted giving 20% positivity, bringing the cumulative number of confirmed cases recorded to date to 110,332.

Dr Malama said in the last 24 hours alone, 174 new admissions were recorded countrywide, the highest number of new admissions ever recorded.

On a very sad note, he said, we recorded 17 new deaths in the last 24 hours. This depicts daily mortality above 15 for three consecutive days this week.

He said 15 deaths were reported from Lusaka, while two were recorded in Southern province.

“Of the Lusaka deaths, five were reported from our isolation and treatment facilities in high density sub-districts, namely Chilenje, Chipata, George and Matero in Lusaka. The new deaths have been classified as twelve COVID-19 deaths and five COVID-19 associated deaths,” Dr Malama said.

He said a total of 972 discharges were made from both the COVID-19 isolation facilities and home management, which brought the cumulative number of recoveries to 96,646.

Dr Malama also said there were currently 12,321 active cases, of whom 11,781 are under community management and 540 are admitted to COVID-19 isolation facilities, and among those currently under admission, 366 are on Oxygen therapy and 49 are in critical condition.

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