IT has been almost eight months since Zambia recorded its first coronavirus case and while we may have been able to manage Covid-19 cases the gravity of the pandemic remains serious and the practice of wearing face masks remains one of the greatest protectors.
Last week. Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya re- emphasised the need for members of the public to take the mask mandate seriously to avoid a second wave of COVID-19 spread.
The Minister has stated that an increase in COVID-19 re-infections has been observed and has since hence made a clarion call to the nation to mask up.
Earlier in the year, Government made robust efforts to ensure the availability of personal Protective equipment amongst health facility staff and for the ordinary citizens masks were expected to be worn in public.
Many citizens were provided with funds and even sewing machines to produce affordable face masks in a bid to ensure all citizens were protected.
Dr. Chilufya has called on members of the public to put up an act of solidarity with family members, workmates and communities by ensuring that they all mask up.
He has called on everyone to further continue adhering to other public health measures and heighten levels of hygiene.
Dr. Chitalu was speaking in Lusaka yesterday during the COVID -19 update.
“As we return to normalcy, maintain public health measures. Mask mandate is a clarion call to the nation. We further make a call to all to heighten levels of hygiene in workplaces, business, households and at community level,” he said.
Dr. Chilufya announced that 49 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded out of the 6,157 tests conducted.
He explained that the cases were picked in Lusaka, Kitwe, Chingola and Ndola from healthcare facility, contacts and routine screening.
“Facilities with COVID-19 patients include Levy Mwanawasa Hospital in Lusaka where we have six patients and four patients at Mary Begg Kansanshi in North Western Province,” the Minister noted.
Dr. Chilufya added that 33 patients have been discharged from various facilities.
He said cumulatively the country has recorded 16,819 COVID – 19 cases since March this year out of the 289,227 tests conducted with 608 active cases.
And Zambia National Public Health Institute Director Victor Mukonka reiterated the call to adhere to public health measures to avoid a surge of the pandemic.
“Should we relax in adhering to COVID-19 measures, we will have a second surge. A lot of fear is with December, January and February,” he said.
Professor Mukonka indicated that efforts are being made to ensure that borders are protected so that the country do not import cases.
Meanwhile, Association of Markets and Bus Stations have called on members of the public to make sure they mask up as they go to markets and bus stations.
Representative of the Association, Jeffrey Kankoto said the markets and bus stations are making efforts to implement the measures but the challenge is with members of the public.
We should learn a lesson from many of the European countries that have seen a Covid-19 second wave and subsequent national lock down.
We hope that it will not have to take an increases in Covid-19 hospital admissions for people to adhere to the mask up mandate.