Lungu saddened by number of health personnel sickened by COVID-19
By REBECCA MUSHOTA
HEALTH workers are to be retrained after another five tested positive
for the Coronavirus (COVID-19) at the Levy Mwanawasa quarantine
facility in Lusaka.
Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya said yesterday, President Edgar Lungu
has expressed his concern at the sudden spike in the numbers of the
frontline staff getting infected after an initial two had taken ill
with the disease.
A nurse and a medical licentiate were found with the disease on
Monday, said to be the result of having been in contact with a
19-year-old suicide who had tested positive during investigations to
determine the source of Coronavirus-like symptoms she presented with
on arrival at the Chilenje Level-One hospital.
She later died, to become Zambia’s third fatality of the Coronavirus
outbreak, which as of yesterday, recorded 70 cases.
The total number of health staff that had tested positive had now
reached eight with the other being a pharmacist who had treated the
early cluster of COVID-19 cases reported last month.
During yesterday’s COVID-19 update, Dr Chilufya said President Lungu
was saddened by the development.
“The President sends a strong pledge of support of the health workers
at the frontline and sends a message of support,” he said.
The five positive tests were recorded after the ministry of Health
tested 322 cases, 24 hours prior to the briefing.
Dr Chilufya said health workers treating COVID-19 patients were at
high risk of contracting the virus even when kitted out with the best
He said globally, 20 per cent of health workers attending to COVID-19
patients got infected.
In view of obvious risk and rising numbers of health personnel being infected,
reinforced measures were being deployed.
These included, retraining health personnel in infectious diseases and
assigning a dedicated senior medical officer at every shift in every
health facility in the country to ensure that health workers were
wearing the appropriate protective wear.
The Government was also increasing the buffer stock of protective
equipment and ensuring that health facilities were thoroughly
Dr Chilufya said as a way of supporting the health workers, people
should adhere to measures aimed at preventing COVID-19 like wearing
masks and washing hands with soap regularly.
Additionally, Dr Chilufya said health authorities were investigating a
death of a 52-year-old man of Choma, in Southern Province, which had
not recorded a Coronavirus case so far, who died in the early hours of
yesterday at the University Teaching Hospital to ascertain if he died
The victim had a history of asthma and was attended to at a health
facility in Choma last week for malaria, but as his condition
deteriorated, he moved to a private clinic in Lusaka which later
transferred him to the UTH where he died in the emergency ward.
Samples had been taken for further investigation.
Dr Chilufya also announced that the mass screening and testing would
continue with Emmasdale and Chaisa targeted for next week.
About 600 people were screened in Chilenje township yesterday and
another 2,000 in Kafue, designated a red zone.
The minister said the people tested from Chilenje all tested negative.
Dr Chilufya said COVID-19 was not insurmountable and called for all
Zambians to support the Government’s efforts by preventing human to