Zambia records 1st case of Indian COVID-19 variant

Health Ministry ring-fences vaccines due to high demand.

Zambia records 1st case of Indian COVID-19 variant

Zambia recorded its first case of the highly contagious Indian COVID-19 variant in a man who recently travelled from the South Asian nation, the Health Ministry reported Tuesday.

Kennedy Malama, a senior health official, told reporters in the capital Lusaka that the 42-year-old was currently in quarantine.

He noted that more than 6,000 people were screened at the points of entry nationwide.

Out of them, 45 were denied entry and 301 had to undergo mandatory testing, with 98 admitted to the 14-day mandatory self-quarantine.

He said Zambia was also likely to encounter challenges in the acquisition of AstraZeneca through the COVAX facility due to increased demand in India.

“As a country we have made a decision to ring-fence the remaining doses of AstraZeneca vaccines for use as second dose for members of the public who have already received the first dose. We are actively engaging various stakeholders including African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diplomatic channels, the private sector among others in line with Cabinet approval to mobilize more vaccines for our people,” he said.

Zambia over the past day administered an additional 5,442 doses, bringing the cumulative number of those vaccinated to 120,209

The country has to-date recorded 92,520 COVID-19 cases since March of last year.