Fourteen lawmakers and 11 members of staff at the Zambian parliament have tested positive for COVID-19, an official said on Friday, July 24, 2020.
This is coming days after the assembly suspended sittings because a lawmaker had died of the respiratory disease.
Speaking during a COVID-19 update, the Health Minister, Chitalu Chilufya, said none of the lawmakers was in a critical condition.
Zambia’s coronavirus cases have surged to 3,856 from 1,632 at the beginning of July, with deaths rising to 136 from 30 over the same period, Chilufya said.
The heavily indebted southern African country, the second copper producer on the continent, is bracing for an economic contraction of over four per cent this year because of the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The lawmakers had tested positive for COVID-19 after mass tests conducted on all lawmakers this week, the country’s health minister said.
The 156 lawmakers underwent COVID-19 tests during an exercise carried out on Wednesday after the National Assembly abruptly adjourned following a surge in cases and deaths.
Chilufya said all the affected lawmakers have been contacted and isolated.
Meanwhile, Zambia reported 154 new cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, bringing the cumulative number to 3,856.
The health minister said this was out of 835 tests conducted and that the country also recorded two deaths, bringing the total deaths to 136.
A total of 253 patients were discharged in the last 24 hours, bringing the total recoveries to 1,941.