Since the first reported COVID-19 case on 18 March 2020, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has confirmed over 16,300 cases with 348 deaths with a case fatality rate of 2.1 per cent. MOH has conducted over 249,200 COVID-19 tests to date and scaled up support to 13 laboratories increasing testing capacity to approximately 2,500 tests per day with a test positivity rate below 5 per cent. On 12 September, school were fully reopened along with bars and restaurants.
Preliminary results of a rapid food security assessment conducted by the Food Security sector between 2 and 9 September in the urban districts of Livingstone and Kitwe to ascertain the impacts of COVID-19 on livelihoods and food security indicate that 131,279 people (26,256 households) residing in 45 high density and low-income urban areas were food insecure due to the impacts of COVID-19 and in need of humanitarian assistance. This was after a similar assessment was done in Lusaka and Kafue districts in which 190,000 people were identified to be vulnerable and food insecure sue to the impacts of the pandemic. Overall, the assessments so far undertaken by the sector in Lusaka, Kitwe, Kafue and Livingstone districts indicate that 322,074 people in 64,415 households are food insecure and in need of food assistance.
The Schools’ Readiness and Accountability Monitoring (SCREAM) was released by the Ministry of General Education (MOGE). The survey was conducted by ZANEC, ZOCS and UNICEF. The monitoring covered 500 country schools, including 75 per cent public, 11 per cent private and 4 per cent community schools. Findings from the report stated that 78 per cent of schools had handwashing stations in every classroom. While only 36 per cent schools had flushable toilets and 67 per cent had latrines. Access to water pumps and boreholes varied among districts with Luapula and Copperbelt provinces scoring less than 10 per cent. In terms of adherence to public health measures, schools scores were high for social distancing in the classroom ranked at 98 per cent and availability of masks for students and teachers at 88 per cent. The report further highlighted the challenges of distance learning and lack of infrastructure for students to engage in online and technology depended learning platforms and further emphasized the importance to reopen schools to mitigate against the loss in learning especially the most vulnerable pupils and most disadvantaged areas. Ongoing monitoring of school compliance to public health measures is critical to the success of keeping schools open.
African Migratory Locusts (AML) outbreaks are still affecting in Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The 2020/21 forecasted la Niña event could accelerate the reproduction of the AML in the affected areas and increase the threat it poses to crops, grazing and livelihoods. In Zambia, where 472,540 hectares have been affected, already 100,900 hectares have been surveyed, including 20,170 hectares sprayed. The Zambia Ministry of Agriculture established a crisis technical team to respond to the AML currently reported in 10 districts in the south-west of the country.