Drive-thru swabs for coronavirus are performed directly in cars, with minimum contact, in Bologna, Italy, Wednesday, March 18, 2020. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness, especially in older adults and people with existing health problems. (Massimo Paolone/LaPresse via AP)
Drive-thru swabs for coronavirus are performed directly in cars, with minimum contact, in Bologna, Italy, Wednesday, March 18, 2020. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness, especially in older adults and people with existing health problems. (Massimo Paolone/LaPresse via AP)

Zambia announces first two cases of Covid-19

By Jonisayi Maromo Time of article published Mar 18, 2020

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PRETORIA – Zambia on Wednesday confirmed its first two cases of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19), the country’s Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya announced. 

“The patients are a Zambian couple of Lusaka -- a 37-year-old woman and 39-year-old man who returned to Lusaka from a 10-day holiday in France aboard an Emirates flight on the of 15th March 2020,” said Chilufya. 

The patients were screened at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport and placed under home quarantine as they did not display symptoms at the time of arrival in Lusaka. 

“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,” said Chilufya. 

“I wish to now inform the nation that the laboratory results have revealed Covid-19 infection in both individuals. Currently the patients are stable and continue receiving appropriate care at a designated health facility.” 

The health minister expressed gratitude for the positive response and cooperation from the Zambian public and incoming travellers in adhering to the key measures that have been put in place by the Lusaka government to prevent and control Covid-19. 

“I also wish to thank the various stakeholders such as the churches, traditional leadership, civil society, schools and training institutions and general public for their continued support and adherence to the guidance. We appreciate the various stakeholders who have put off holding important events,” said Chilufya. 

The Zambian government extended appreciation for the support from “seasoned cooperating partners” including Africa CDC, World Health Organisation, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the United States government, the British government, World Bank, the government of the People’s Republic of China, Japan, the European Union and agencies of the United Nations. 

As of Wednesday, the number of people with Covid-19 in neighbouring South Africa had risen to 116, with several more instances of local transmission, the government said. 

African News Agency

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