By SILUMESI MALUMO
ONLY six Members of Parliament out of 156 have voluntarily tested for Covid-19 since Parliament resumed sittings, Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya has said.
And the minister announced yesterday that the country has recorded 60 new cases of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours.
Dr Chilufya said he was dismayed with the development because the lawmakers were supposed to show leadership in the fight against the deadly pandemic.
“Mr Speaker let me focus on my colleagues in Parliament. In anticipation of opening, the Ministry of Health worked with National Assembly management to set up screening and testing facilities at Parliament clinic.
Further the management at National Assembly put in measures to ensure physical distancing, to ensure sanitisation of all that are entering these premises, these measures Mr Speaker were adequate. However I have noted with dismay that out of the 156 Members of Parliament, only six tested voluntarily at the clinic despite having a dedicated team at the Parliament clinic,” Dr Chilufya said.
The minister said the development was unacceptable as the importance for testing cannot be over emphasised because testing would give an opportunity to detect the cases early and link the cases to proper case management and avoid negative outcomes.
This was the surest way, he said, of preventing further spread of the pandemic.
“Despite the statistics I have just referred to, Government through the National Assembly management is giving yet another opportunity to all Members of Parliament to get tested. We will set up increased number testing points for all Members of Parliament at National Assembly tomorrow (today) Wednesday starting at 07:00 hours,” he said.
Dr Chilufya said before the MPs return to their respective constituencies they need to be tested today and the results would be given by the end of business.
Meanwhile Dr Chilufya said from 369 tests conducted in the last 24 hours, 60 new cases had been recorded bringing the total cases to 3, 386 with 128 deaths.
He said “26 cases were from Kalumbila in the Nort-Western Province, 11 from Lusaka, six in Mufulira and 38 were contact cases.”
Dr Chilufya said from the health facility-based screening, 11 were recorded in Lusaka, four from Kitwe and one in Sesheke, stating that in the routine community screening six were from Lusaka.
And Dr Chilufya said 18 patients were on oxygen and two in critical condition while eight had been discharged from Levy Mwanawasa centre and eight from Copperbelt Province Covid-19 centre.
The minister said the continued escalating cases of the Covid-19 had been attributed to the cold and laxity to comply with the measures which had been put in place.