CHLOROQUINE does not cure coronavirus but only helps relieve some symptoms and people should stop engaging in self-medication, the Zambia Medial Association (ZMA) has said. ZMA public health chairperson Naeem Dalal said in an interview yesterday that scientists are still researching to find out if the drug can cure the disease. Dr Dalal said people should stop buying medicine to treat symptoms of coronavirus over the counter, but seek medical advice from qualified health personnel. On Sunday, Minister of Health Chitalu Chilufya announced that the country has recorded three cases of coronavirus, with the latest being a 59-year-old man who recently travelled to Pakistan. The first two coronavirus cases in Zambia were recorded on Wednesday last week from a couple that returned from France.
“Studies have indicated that chloroquine is working in treating some and not all Covid-19 symptoms. It does not work for everyone, that’s why we still have research going on. The medicine should be taken with prescription from doctors,” he said. Dr Dalal said if abused, Chloroquine has potential to cause heart problems. He also said washing hands with soap and running water is more effective than hand sanitisers to prevent coronavirus from spreading because people use hands to touch surfaces and their faces.
Dr Dalal said there is no specific soap or disinfectant prescribed to prevent the spread of the disease, and that people should wash their hands for about 20 seconds. He said studies have shown that the virus can stay on a paper for four days and beyond that on a metal surface. Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services Dora Siliya said over 29,000 people have screened at different entry points countrywide. Speaking on Hot FM yesterday, Ms Siliya said the country has not recorded any new case, and that surveillance systems have been enhanced. She said prevention of the spread of Covid-19 is a personal responsibility and that people should stay home and avoid unnecessary travel.
Ms Siliya urged the public to be alert and report people returning from high-risk countries to health authorities. She said Government is discussing ways of reducing load-shedding and ensuring that there is adequate water supply in people’s homes. Ms Siliya also said the measures being implemented to fight Covid-19 are instructions from President Edgar Lungu, and that he is well informed on the matter. “The three people who tested positive to Covid-19 are recuperating well and are not on any breathing support machine.
We are also putting a lot of consideration as we implement these measures because people still have to survive economically,” she said. NDC president Chishimba Kambwili urged churches to completely stop their members from attending services to prevent spread of the disease. Mr Kambwili wondered why some churches were allowed to be crowded, while others exceeded the stipulated one hour last weekend in the wake of the deadly pandemic. He said Dr Chilufya should tell the public if Zambia has the capacity to handle Covid-19. Last week, Dr Chilufya said churches should meet for an hour, while bar owners should reduce operations by two hours.
United Party for National Development president Hakainde Hichilema said Zambia’s health care delivery system has no capacity to contain the disease because of lack of adequate workers. Mr Hichilema said the country needs a complete lockdown for two weeks to reduce infections and that flights from other countries should not be allowed in Zambia. He said workers in the public and private sectors should be encouraged to work from their homes. Mr Hichilema said Parliament should reconvene virtually to approve a supplementary budget to fund Covid-19 activities. Medical for Quality Healthcare in Zambia (MQHZ) director general Quince Mwabu said the Ministry of Health should stop using students to combat the spread of coronavirus, but employ qualified health workers.
Dr Mwabu said thousands of health workers worldwide have contracted the coronavirus, hence the need to leave the work to well-trained personnel to effectively discharge preventive measures. But Ministry of Health spokesperson Abel Kabalo said students involved in implementing Covid-19 measures do it under the supervision of qualified health personnel.
Dr Kabalo said the ministry provides adequate protective clothing for health workers, including students involved in the process. Meanwhile, Huajian Group of China has donated medical supplies worth US$38,000 to Zambia to help fight COVID-19. The medical supplies, which will be delivered to Zambia next month, include medical masks, protective gear, thermometer guns and gloves. Speaking during the handover ceremony on Saturday, Huajian Group board chairperson Zhang Huarong pledged to support Zambia in fighting Covid-19. This is in a statement by secondary secretary for trade at Zambia’s consulate in Guangzhu, Angela Lwatula. And consul general at Zambia’s consulate in Guangzhou Daniel Chisenga thanked the Huajian Group for its generosity. COVID-19 first broke out last November in China. Over 300,000 cases have been recorded with about 15,000 deaths worldwide. Coronavirus’ epicentre has moved from China to Europe, with Ita