Government has called on leadership across various institutions to provide guidance in the fight against the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Minister of Health, Chitalu Chilufya explained that with the current surge of COVID-19 in the country, effective community participation through strong leadership was the only way to disrupt the further spread.

Dr Chilufya implored traditional leaders, church leaders and the civic leaders to ensure that they provide strong leadership especially in communities to support government in the fight.

Dr Chilufya indicated that multi-sectoral response in the fight against the virus is currently the major game changer, hence emphasized on the role of leadership across all sectors to create an enabling environment that will see communities abiding to the public health regulations.

“We emphasize on role of leadership in the villages, at village headman and chiefdom level, we emphasize the role of leadership in the churches, let us use these platforms to disseminate key information on how to disrupt COVID-19 and support our collective aspiration to retain to normalcy in the shortest period of time.

“The government of the Republic of Zambia under his Excellency Dr Edgar Chagwa Lungu has provided overall leadership in his fight against COVID-19. The political will that has been exhibited at the summit has been critical in this response,” Dr Chilufya explained.

The Minister announced that Zambia has in the last 24 hours recorded 123 cases of COVID-19 out of 1,046 tests done with three facility deaths and 362 recoveries.

Dr Chilufya noted that the cumulative number of recorded cases has increased to 12,025, while the cumulative number of deaths stands at 287 with 11,454 discharges.

He reported that with the current COVID-19 death statistics, 192 are COVID-19 related deaths while 95 were pure COVID-19 deaths.

The Minister indicated that Levy Mwanawasa Teaching Hospital was housing 30 COVID-19 patients, out of which 15 patients are on oxygen and four are critical but receiving intensive care therapy.

He added that 20 patients are admitted in various facilities outside Lusaka of which nine are receiving oxygen support.

Dr. Chilufya stated that the call to action was for community members to take responsibility by observing hygiene practices at all times indicating that this may lead to further relaxation of restrictions in the country as numbers reduce.

And Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary for Technical Services, Kennedy Malama reinforced the Minister’s message on taking up leadership roles from an individual level to a community level.

Dr Malama stressed that the increase in the number of cases gives a picture of the country’s adherence levels towards the pandemic hence called for social behavior change among people.

“As the Honorable Minister has stated, you may think numbers are less today for those who are admitted, our biggest concern are those who are in our facilities like Levy isolation facility who are sicker than we have seen before and require more support.

So the game changer for Zambia then remains with the leadership support. When we talk of leadership, we always look at the top leadership, we are talking of leadership at all levels,” the Permanent Secretary reiterated.

The duo were speaking during the routine COVID-19 update at the Ministry of Health, in Lusaka.

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