President Edgar Lungu has confirmed that Zambia has recorded its first two cases of COVID-19 commonly known as Coronavirus.
In a Facebook Post, President Lungu revealed that the patients are a Zambian couple that traveled to France with their two children for 10 days.
“Our surveillance system was able to detect that they transited through high-risk COVID-19 countries. The couple has been isolated and receiving treatment in Chilanga. I want to salute our gallant men and women carrying out surveillance at all points of entry and our hardworking health personnel. I ask all members of the public not to panic. Report any suspected cases or symptoms to the nearest health facility,” President Lungu said.
Meanwhile, Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya also confirmed during a news conference the presence of Coronavirus in Zambia.
“I regret to inform the nation that Zambia has confirmed its first two cases of COVID19. The patients are a Zambian couple of Lusaka; a 37-year-old woman and a 39-year-old man who returned to Lusaka from a 10-day holiday in France aboard an Emirates flight on 15th March 2020. The patients were screened at Kenneth Kaunda International Airport and placed under home quarantine as they did not display symptoms at the time of arrival,” Dr. Chilufya said.
“On follow-up, the following day, the man reported feeling unwell and health officials collected samples from the couple for laboratory testing to rule out COVID-19. The couple was placed in isolation while investigations were being conducted,” he said.
Dr Chilufya said the laboratory results have revealed COVID-19 infection in both individuals adding that currently the patients are stable and continue receiving appropriate care at a designated health facility.
“I wish to take this opportunity to acknowledge the positive response and cooperation from the Zambian public and incoming travelers in adhering to the key measures that have been put in place by the Government to prevent and control COVID-19.”
And Dr Chilufya has thanked the Barotse Royal Establishment (BRE) for putting off this year’s Kuomboka ceremony.
“The Government appreciates the support from our seasoned cooperating partners who continue to provide technical, financial, logistical and material support to our national preparedness and response efforts to COVID-19. These include but not limited to Africa CDC, World Health Organisation, UNICEF, US Government, British 2 Government, World Bank, Chinese Government, Japanese Government, European Union, and other United Nations Agencies. I now call upon the public to adhere to the measure put in place, particularly the observance of high levels of personal hygiene, environmental cleanliness, and social distancing to prevent transmission of COVID-19.”
He added, “I appeal to the public not to panic as the situation is under control. The public should be weary of false rumors that have been circulating through social media platforms and note that official communication relating to the COVID-19 outbreak shall be issued by the Ministry of Health. I will continue to update the nation regularly as the outbreak evolves including further measures that will be brought into effect. God Bless Zambia.”