Zambia on Wednesday reported the presence of the COVID-19 Delta variant, with a health official warning of an imminent sudden spike in cases.
This came after public gatherings seen nationwide during last Thursday's general election.
"This variant is highly contagious, has a shorter incubation period and remains a cause for concern as we continue to closely monitor the epidemiological picture for any possible spikes following the recent electoral process activities in the country," Kennedy Malama, the Health Ministry's permanent secretary for technical services, said in a statement in the capital Lusaka.
Malama, however, said in an encouraging note that the country had for the first time in over two months seen under 200 patients admitted to COVID-19 facilities, adding that his office would endeavor to bring the number down to lower levels.
"We currently have 445,715 doses of the COVID-19 vaccines in stock -- including the AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and Sinopharm -- and we urge members of the public to consider being vaccinated as spikes and the fourth wave cannot be ruled out in the near future," he added.
Malama said the vaccines protected one from contracting severe diseases or dying from COVID-19.
He reported 382 new COVID-19 cases out of 6,833 tests, bringing the cumulative number of infections to 203,169.
Malama also reported six additional coronavirus-related fatalities, taking the death toll to 3,556.
He said 212 patients had been discharged from isolation, bringing the total number of recoveries to 196,936.
"We currently have 2,677 active cases, with 2,481 under community management and 196 admitted to our COVID-19 isolation facilities.
"Among those currently admitted, 136 are on oxygen therapy and 50 are in critical condition. We had 27 new admissions in the last 24 hours," Malama also noted.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.