LUSAKA, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- Health authorities in Zambia on Wednesday officially confirmed the outbreak of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya said the country has started recording an increase in the number of cases as well as daily deaths from COVID-19, signifying an upsurge in the pandemic.
He said during a COVID-19 update briefing that a new variant similar to the one in South Africa has broken out in the country.
"We have seen clearly the pandemic returning with increased numbers. This clearly shows that the second wave is here. The call to action is for us to respond," he said.
According to him, the new variant was spreading fast and causing more infections as well as claiming many lives.
The Zambian minister warned that failure to adhere to health guidelines would see the number of infections rising and overwhelm the health facilities.
Zambia Institute of Public Health (ZIPH) Director Victor Mukonka said the evidence that the new wave has come includes severe cases of people being admitted and needing oxygen, daily death and the geographical spread of the pandemic to new regions.
He warned that the new variant was spreading fast and that the country may plunge into a crisis if nothing was done to contain it.
According to the figures, the country recorded 285 new cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the cumulative cases to 20,462.
The cases were picked from 9,227 tests conducted while 150 patients were discharged in the same period, bringing the total recoveries to 18,530.
One person died during the same period, bringing the total deaths to 386.
Zambia has so far done 591,150 tests since the outbreak of the pandemic in March. Enditem