During a recent media briefing, Masebo stated that the Omicron variant had been the primary cause of COVID in Zambia.

“The SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, has still been circulating around the world, including in Zambia.” Several variants have made a contribution to the pandemic’s upsurge. In Zambia, the Omicron variant remains the leading cause of COVID-19. Thanks to the work of our genomic sequencing syndicate, which is orchestrated by the ZNPHI, we discovered the first case of Omicron variant BA.4  and another case of the BA.5 variant 4 weeks ago. Both are from the Lusaka Province’s Chongwe District. “I’d like to emphasize that the BA.4 lineages have been detected and appear to be spreading in a number of countries around the world,” she said.

“For example, in South Africa, the portion of BA.4 sequences increased from less than 1percent in Jan 2022 to more than 35percent by April end 2022, while the percentage of BA.5 sequences remained at 20% in April 2022.” While they have more mutations or genetic changes, than other Omicron variant lineages, there is no evidence that these mutations are linked to worse disease or a lower response to vaccines. We stress the importance of following all recommended public health interventions, such as the 5 golden rules and vaccination. The rising number of people receiving COVID-19 vaccines gives us reason to be optimistic. While the rise in positivity is minor, and the number of people admitted as a result of COVID-19 is small, we must ensure that no disease or death is caused by COVID-19 or any other preventable disease.”

Masebo reported that coverage for the dose 1 vaccine had reached 60% in five provinces.

“COVID-19 vaccines remain a safe and effective method of controlling and preventing the pandemic, preventing people from becoming critically ill, hospitalized, or even dying.” It is encouraging that five provinces, Luapula, Central, Copperbelt, Northwestern, and Western, have now achieved 60 percent dose 1 coverage. “Our highest performing vaccine coverage districts are Shibuyunji, Chililabombwe, Mufulira, Sesheke, Chembe, and Ngabwe,” she said.

“I am also pleased to report that more than 52% of our top 20 districts have fully vaccinated children.” In contrast, our top 20 least performing districts currently report 8-26 percent coverage for fully vaccinated people. Kaputa (17.4 percent), Shiwangandu (16.7%), and Lupososhi (8.2%) have had the lowest coverage so far. We also looked into the districts that had the highest share of untapped, unvaccinated eligible people, such as Lusaka, Kitwe, Petauke, Ndola, and Monze. We’ve told our vaccination teams to work harder to reach these unvaccinated groups because “none of us are safe until we’re all safe.”

She claimed that nationwide vaccination coverage had reached 36%.

“We appreciate and applaud the public’s continued interest in and utilization of vaccination services, even after this year’s campaign has concluded.” In the last 24 hours, over 76,000 vaccine doses have been administered. We continue to encourage all eligible individuals to get vaccinated as soon as possible at a vaccination center near you. Our total number of fully vaccinated people has now reached 3,961,464 and our national coverage has increased to 36%. Masebo reported that 2,385,130 people received dose 1 and 332,877 received booster doses.

“Out of 2,572 tests performed in the last 24hrs, we recorded 139 fresh cases, representing a 5% positivity rate.” We received five new admissions.  There were no new deaths for the sixth day in a row. We discharged 151 patients from home and facility-based case management, leaving 1,053 cases open across the country. Only 16 (2% of active cases) require admission, with 10 requiring oxygen. No one of the patients appears to be in critical condition. Keep in mind that the pandemic is far from over. We are still at risk of a fifth wave, so we must take every precaution possible, including following the five golden rules and vaccinating ourselves and all eligible persons of our households.”

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