COVID-19 INFECTION RATES ON INCREASE
…3rd wave fears heighten
…Defiant schools face closure
IN a worrying development for Zimbabwe, official Covid-19 infections increased DAILY for the week ended April 17, amid genuine fears of a deadly third wave.
Daily new infections had drastically reduced following the start of the country’s vaccination programme.
But last week started with 11 infections on Sunday, April 11, and ended with 165 new infections on Saturday.
There was a huge jump from Thursday’s 53 new infections to 112 on Friday and another worrying jump to 165 on Saturday.
Much of the jump in cases came from just three schools, and these clustershave yet to be part of the wider communities, but the dangers exist if complacency becomes the norm as Covid spreads fast.
Overall, Zimbabwe had 37 699 confirmed cases, including 35 005 recoveries and 1 552 deaths as of Saturday since the start of the pandemic, while a total of 276 095 people have been vaccinated against Covid-19.
Acting Mpilo Hospital chief executive officer, Professor Solwayo Ngwenya believes complacency brought by the vaccination programme and the setting in of winter pose a serious threat to Zimbabwe and the continent.
While some accuse him of fear-mongering, Professor Ngwenya has consistently warned that a third wave will set in unless people change their behaviour and attitudes towards the pandemic and stop being complacent.
“The world needs to go back to basic epidemiology; contain the further spread of this terrible disease.”
He stressed the need to follow the basic measures.
“This virus is something else! The euphoria that accompanied the arrival of the vaccines will soon fade away. We will
be left with basic methods of wearing masks properly etc. Please let us wear our masks properly, sanitise, and social distance. And obey restrictive measures,” said Professor Ngwenya on Twitter.
The second wave that hit Zimbabwe in January was worse than the first and Professor Ngwenya says the period between waves are most dangerous.
“Coronavirus: the most dangerous time is ‘in between waves’, when the populations are complacent, the hospital beds are empty, and businesses are counting money! Then booooooom! Do NOT become part of the grim statistics. Be smart!
He said a third wave in Africa could be very sudden if people did not take precautions as it could spread quickly. “This is not fear-mongering, this is not a joke!
Our lives are far more important than anything else. Let us stop being complacent, and dismissive.
“What we must resist is the fatalistic belief that we winning the battle.
We must follow strictly ALL WHO protocols at ALL times to reduce transmissions. They are LIFESAVING. LISTEN to messages, these are crucial times. Pandemic times!”
Professor Ngwenya also touched on the implication of the winter period in this part of the world.
“Low temperatures have begun in Southern Africa, we should all be extremely careful this winter. Last winter we did not have the new variants. More lives could be lost in the coming waves due to complacency.
New waves will be unforgiving, behaviour change is CRITICAL.”
He explained the implication of low temperatures:
“What happened is that the P1 variant is now endemic due to the ‘little flu’ mentality. For our setting here winter will see people working in closed spaces, offices, buses etc, due to temperatures thereby re-breathing each other’s air. We make noise precisely to stop endemicity!”
The jump to 112 cases on Friday followed tests at a school in Mangwe, Matabeleland South while a third school, this time in Manicaland, reported a cluster of Covid-19 infections linked to Saturday’s 165 new infections.
Meanwhile, Government has warned that schools failing to comply with Covid-19 regulations will face closure.
This comes after another school, St David’s Bonda High School, recorded at least 120 positive cases of Covid-19 with the majority of pupils being Form Fours and Sixes.
Some 90 positive cases were recorded at Embakwe High School in Mangwe.
At the same time, Covid-19 surveillance systems that includes contact tracing and strengthening of all standard operating procedures and guidelines have been implemented at Sacred Heart School in Umzingwane District of Matabeleland South Province after 117 were found positive last week.
Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Dr John Mangwiro said Government would not hesitate to act upon these measures if schools do not comply.
“Government has indicated that those schools which are not following Covid-19 regulations will be shut down. Government will not hesitate to act upon these measures,” he said.
As of 17 April, a total of 276 095 had received their first dose of the vaccine, while 35 806 had received their second dose.
Dr Mangwiro said they were now prioritising residents in the border towns.
“We would like to also inform the public that with immediate effect, all residents of border towns are going to be prioritised for the vaccination programme.”
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From a video of 1Njuzu rubbing her ‘mughodi’ to a recently released one of the bootful woman with a small boy who apparently has a small gun…Learn More