By Scoop Reporter

HEALTH Minister Chitalu Chilufya says in the last 24 hours, Zambia has recorded 153 new COVID -19 cases out of 446 tests done while no death was recorded.

Dr. Chilufya says 17 patients have continued to be on oxygen support and four are on ventilators. He also says because of the upswing in the number of COVID-19 cases, the new wing at Levy Mwanawasa Hospital with a 52 bed capacity has now been operationalized.

Meanwhile, Dr. Chilufya has praised those who have come out in the open to declare their COVID-19 positive status saying this is the only way they can protect their contacts and enhance contact tracing.

He says such people must not be discriminated against because through public health professionals, they make it easy to find their contacts as contact tracing is critical in preventing the spread of the disease.

“I do not believe that any of us would want a situation where we did not disclose our COVID-19 status and then we allow someone who didn’t know to contract COVID-19 and succumb. Let stigma not disrupt the fight against COVID-19.

“The people who are reporting publicly that they have COVID-19 are responsible people and would like to protect the people they came into contact with. If you do not want to go public, contact the people you came into contact with.

“By revealing who you came into contact with, through our public health professionals, you will be able to find your contacts and contact tracing is critical and as we do this, we will not stigmatize anybody,” Dr. Chilufya said.

He says there is no need to stigmatize patients with COVID-19 because stigma is reversing the gains the country has posted in the fight against COVID-19 as the pandemic requires solidarity and unity of purpose.

“This is the reason why President Edgar Lungu has insistently stated that it is time for all of us to unite as a common front against COVID-19. It is not time to politicize it. It is time to face this formidable and virulent virus.

“A number of our economic and social livelihoods are being disrupted by this pandemic and it is important that we deal with it first. Even as we mitigate the impact of various sectors, we have the imperative of dealing with COVID-19 itself first and it requires community and individuals action,” he said.

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