Zambia on Tuesday launched an emergency COVID-19 social cash transfer scheme to help vulnerable communities affected by the pandemic.
Kampamba Mulenga, Minister of Community Development, said this during a news briefing in Lusaka.
The minister said that the emergency social cash transfer would help mitigate the impact of the pandemic in vulnerable homes of the elderly, women and their children.
She said that the disbursement to beneficiaries would commence before the end of this week, adding that the initiative was being supported by cooperating partners.
The beneficiaries will be given money as well as food hampers for a period of six months, she added.
George Okutho, International Labor Organization, ILO, Director for Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique said during the same news conference that the pandemic has placed challenges of loss of employment in many sectors.
Okutho said that the emergency social cash transfer would help address social protection.
World Food Programme Country Director, Jayoung Lee said the UN agency would work with the government to distribute food across the country in vulnerable homes.
Similarly, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Zambia had reached 5,002 on Tuesday, its health ministry said.
Ministry of Health Permanent Secretary in charge of administration, Kennedy Malama said the country recorded 450 new cases in the last 24 hours and two deaths.
The new cases were picked from 2,542 tests conducted, bringing the total tests since the outbreak of pandemic in March to 79,269.
In remarks delivered during a COVID-19 update, the health official said deaths related to COVID-19 rose to 142 following two more deaths recorded in the last 24 hours.
The country discharged 380 patients in the last 24 hours, bringing the total recoveries to 3,195 while 1,665 patients were still in isolation centers.
He said the increase in cases showed that the epidemiology of the cases had shifted to communities where the cases were coming from.
According to him, the shift in the distribution of the cases entailed that the country changes its mode of response to the pandemic.