Ten deaths recorded in the 24 hours leading into Saturday triggered genuine fears that a second wave of the Covid-19 might be upon us.
According to the Zimbabwe Covid-19 figures on Saturday, the total deaths were now 291 from 10 617 cases of which 8 844 recovered.
Harare province reported nine deaths retrospectively. The rise in deaths come at a time the country’s borders have been opened ahead of the festive break, which is the basis for fear of a deadlier outbreak compared to the period between April and last month when borders were closed.
A leading public health officer and Mpilo acting chief executive officer, Professor Sol-wayo Ngwenya has been consistent in raising the flag on the dangers lurking. He believes Covid-19 is spiraling out of control due to increasing cases, rising positivity rates, mounting deaths and he has even declared that there will be no Christmas or New Year celebrations while calling on a lockdown akin to the April-May lock-down.
“Zimbabwe and the whole African continent are tottering on the brink of a major catastrophe.
The second wave will be a sud-den, blistering, flattening strike, killing many people. Be warned. Prevent the further spread this terrible virus,” he tweeted yesterday.
H-Metro’s ZVIKOMBORERO PARAFINI spoke to Ngwenya on the current situation and way forward concerning Covid-19.
QUESTION: Professor, you have been very consistent with your message on Covid-19. What is your view of the situation in the country right now?
ANSWER: I have been very consistent about my message on Covid-19 because Covid-19 is a very serious global pandemic, a medical emergency.
This medical emergency happened more than loo years ago in 1918 where Soo million were infected and 5o million people died. My father survived this terrible Spanish Flu of 1918 and he consistently described to me the terrible things that he saw in 1918.
This stuck with me all my life and I don’t want Zimbabweans to experience this terrible thing again, and most people don’t understand this because they didn’t have anyone who survived the terrible flu of 1918. They don’t really understand what a pandemic is.
I have been trying very hard to tell Zimbabweans what kind of terrible situation we are facing, with limited success. Some think I’m an alarmist, some say its melodrama, insulative, but my view right now and my assessment as a medical expert is that the country is tottering on the brink of facing a major catastrophe as seen in 1918 by my father.
If this situation is allowed to goon, a repeat of 1918 is going to happen here whereby a lot of people will fall sick at the same time, rushing to hospitals filling up and there will be mass deaths.
This is the situation we face right now as a country, it is a dangerous situation. The ropening of borders and the activities around Christmas, what is the likely impact on the Covid-19 situation?
On the opening of borders, obviously as a medical expert, I wasn’t going to agree to it same with the mass reopening of schools.
My model was to allow only people that were writing exams to be allowed in schools because children are vectors of the virus
because they move around spreading the virus, they don’t fall sick much, but they can infect the whole population and vulnerable groups at home then they cause deaths.
I said before that the re-opening of borders is bringing in a new strand of the virus from other country, which we did not have in the March wave.
It was a localized one and there was no resurgent virus that we are seeing now. With this Christmas and the festive mood, there will be a lot of people coming.
And seeing that people have not being following all the measures that they have been told about, with this merry making and this laid back attitude towards Coronavirus, I can see a lot of super spreading events, weddings, bars and parties.
It is going to be a conundrum I am telling you and the impact is going to worsen and we are going to see exponential growth in numbers and deaths.
What do you consider as the hotspots? Bulawayo started off as a hotspot because of its cultural links with South Africa. Most of our people are there so it was a hotspot and the virus was brought back as it was in 1918 from South Africa and spreading north-wards.
The next hotspots are going to be Midlands, Manicaland, Masvingo and the capital city Harare. It is going to erupt and it will be hotspot. The whole country is going to erupt into a hotspot.
This thing is far much worse than it seems, Bulawayo seems like a hotspot because there is a lot of testing, we are vigilant and we make sure that everyone is reported and we are up to date with our figures, the virus is nearer to you than you think.
Do you think the country is now better prepared compared to March 2020 The country is slightly better prepared than in March especially in areas like Harare.
They have renovated their facilities, but in other areas like here in Bulawayo we don’t have a public facilities. We have private facilities with limited capacities.
The country is not prepared to face a mass sickness, deaths they will not be able to cope. What is your advice to the authorities?
My advice to authorities is that they should seek proper medical advice, they should put aside this economic advice from these people who want to do economic activities who are going to die and will not continue with their economic activities.
At the moment the health of the nation is the priority number one over education, over everything. They need to seek urgent medical advice on what to do next because if they dither, the authorities are going to cause a lot of deaths in the country.
What is your advice to the Zimbabwean people? My advice to the generality of Zimbabwe-ans is that my message remains the same. The virus is a serious virus and it’s supposed to be a medical emergency.
You are meant to listen to the advice that we give. There’s a reason why you should social distance. There’s a reason why you should wear your mask properly and you shouldn’t find yourself in an enclosed space because the virus spreads rapidly in enclosed spaces, crowded places.
Don’t find yourself in crowded churches and beerhalls because your life may be cut short. You may not be able to see the new year. The virus can kill you within a few days.
Fellow Zimbabweans its high time you listen. I’m not here to cause drama or alarm. It’s purely for your own safety and own health.
Also Read: THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT GINIMBI
Genius Kadungure aka Ginimbi was a popular Zimbabwean socialite and businessman.
He was also the founder and Chief Executive Officer of a gas company, Pioneer Gases which has interests in Botswana, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. He was also the owner of Dreams Nightlife Club...read more