Zambia will receive a Covid-19 vaccine by the end of February, the Ministry of Health has announced.

Speaking during the weekly Covid-19 update in Lusaka on Wednesday, Health Minister Dr. Chitalu Chilufya said: “We have been formally admitted under the Covax facility and we should begin receiving initial vaccines by the end of February. We will indicate to the nation the sequencing in which we will give out these vaccines.”

He added that front liners such as health workers in direct contact with patients infected by the coronavirus will be among the first groups to receive a vaccine, as well as vulnerable age groups.

Dr. Chilufya said the new strains of covid-19 are affecting all age groups including the young and the old, and that the Ministry will keep the public updated about the vaccine.

The Health Minister further stated that the government is concerned about many citizens who have relaxed in maintaining public health measures.

Dr. Chilufya said Zambia is on the verge of a second wave due to low temperatures being experienced and events such as parties, weddings, funerals and concerts.

“I encourage communities to engage public health authorities or district management teams should they wish to host large events. We have also noticed that in a number of hotspots such as malls, we have scaled down on handwashing and maintaining health guidelines,” he said.

He announced that Zambia recorded 241 new cases from 6,048 tests done.

Dr. Chilufya also stated that 36 patients are admitted in various isolation facilities countrywide with 18 on oxygen support, and two in critical condition, including two pregnant women.

78 patients were discharged and one brought-in-dead case was recorded from Mansa district.

Zambia National Public Health Institute Director Professor Victor Mukonka said many patients are presenting to health facilities with severe forms of diseases and an increase of deaths have been recorded.

Director of the Infectious Diseases hospital Professor Lloyd Mulenga said that Intensive Care Units at both Levy Mwanawasa and University Teaching Hospital have been opened.

“Patients that may be stable and stay isolated at home, present with severe symptom after four days,” he said.

He said all centers have patients countrywide who are in critical condition and attributed the new cases to a possibility of the mutant virus.

On Thursday, Zambia recorded 112 new cases out of 3,540 tests and 67 patients recovered while one person died.

Zambia’s total cases stand at 19, 240, with 18,036 recoveries and 381 total deaths.

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