Zambia’s Health minister tests positive for Covid-19

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A health officer takes samples to test for Covid-19. Zambia’s Health minister Chitalu Chilufya has tested positive for Covid-19. PHOTO | BRIAN ONGORO | AFP

Zambia’s Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya has tested positive for Covid-19 as the country’s cases surpassed the 1,000 mark.

He becomes the second-high profile individual to come out publicly after his Information counterpart Dora Siliya announced her results on Sunday.

Dr Chilufya, who is also facing a graft investigation, has since gone into self-isolation, secretary to the Cabinet Simon Miti told journalists in Lusaka on Wednesday.

Dr Miti announced that the country had in the last five days recorded 137 Covid-19 cases, bringing the total number to1,057.

Earlier in the month, Zambia shut its border with Tanzania at Nakonde-Tunduma crossing after recording more than 70 cases in the area on a single day.

The landlocked state of about 17 million people did not implement a lockdown, but imposed restrictions which included closing bars, casinos, gyms and schools.

Two weeks ago, President Edgar Lungu allowed reopening of gyms and casinos. Bars, however, remain closed.

President Lungu said the economy was “choking” due to inactivity and the country had to find a way of carrying on amidst the pandemic.

Universities remain closed but examination classes for secondary and primary schools will resume on June 1.

Zambia is grappling with a huge Chinese debt and a slowdown in economic activity necessitated by Covid-19.