Zambia confirms first 2 cases of COVID-19

Zambian Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya has confirmed the country’s first two cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. A husband-and-wife pair tested positive for the disease after returning from a holiday in France on March 15, the minister told reporters Wednesday. 

They were then placed under self-quarantine due to their travel history and were visited by health workers 24 hours later, who discovered that the husband had developed a fever and flu-like symptoms. At that point, tests were conducted, Chitalu said 

The couple’s two children, who had traveled alongside them, tested negative for the virus, while both parents tested positive, although the wife remains asymptomatic, according to the briefing. 

The health ministry says the entire family remains under isolation in a designated facility, where the husband’s symptoms are already beginning to show signs of improvement.

The news comes after a decision by Zambia’s government late yesterday to begin closing schools by the end of the week. The government also said it intends to train an additional 500 hundred health workers to deal with the unique challenges presented by the novel coronavirus threat.