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200 die in seven-day Covid-19 bloodbath in Zimbabwe

By Vusumuzi Dube

Zimbabwe last week experienced its worst week with spiking Covid-19 infections and 200 deaths as the country continues to suffer the consequences of the second wave of the global pandemic.

With health officials saying scientists are still to ascertain whether the new infections are a result of the new strain of the virus or not, figures in the country continue to balloon with the recovery rate tumbling to below 60 percent.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Health and Child Care the country, last week recorded 6 382 new infections and 200 deaths by yesterday. Harare had the highest figure of new infections with 2 768 cases while Bulawayo had 332 new cases. In terms of deaths, Harare recorded 52 and Bulawayo 30. The country has now recorded 26 881 cases, 15 872 recoveries, and 683 deaths since March last year.

In terms of active cases, Harare continues to have the highest number with 4 560 cases, followed by Manicaland Province which has 1 259 cases and Mashonaland East which has 1 091 cases, Bulawayo has the fourth-highest number of active cases with 664 infections while Mashonaland West has the least number with 399 active cases. The national recovery rate for the week averaged 59 percent.

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Giving her weekly Covid-19 update the Chief Co-ordinator of the national response to the Covid-19 pandemic in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Dr. Agnes Mahomva noted that the recent surge in new infections was now causing a strain on provincial teams hence they could be falling short in recording all the recovered cases.

She said they had noted the public concern over the reported low recovery rate. At the peak of the first wave, in July 2020, the recovery rates were reported as above 90 percent on average.

“The recent surge in cases has put a big strain on provincial teams in tracking cases in order to appropriately and timely classify the cases’ clinical status and due to these large numbers provinces have tended to prioritise tracking of moderate and severely ill Covid-19 cases as these need urgent medical attention.

“The delayed tracking of positive cases that are generally well with no signs and symptoms but isolating and recovering from home has resulted in some recovered cases being included in the national recovery statistics a bit late and hence giving the impression that the national recovery rate is low,” said Dr. Mahomva.

She said there was a need for the public to change their attitude towards the lockdown noting that if people continued to ignore Covid-19 set prevention protocols and the lockdown regulations new infections would certainly continue to surge.

“We need to take the current lockdown as seriously as we took the first one. Unfortunately, it appears most people are not taking this lockdown seriously. A survey conducted by a team of global scientists in August 2020 confirmed that Zimbabwe’s success in managing the first wave was mainly due to the stringent lockdown measures,” said Dr. Mahomva.

Recently health experts predicted an extension of the 30-day lockdown imposed by Government if people continued to deviate from recommended guidelines meant to stop the spread of Covid-19. The country went to level four lockdown at the beginning of the month as the Government tries to contain the ballooning figures.

Among the many facets of the lockdown there is now a dusk to dawn curfew and shutting down of non-essential services.

The essential services’ operating hours have been reduced and now open at 8 am and close at 3 pm. Public gatherings including church services and weddings have been banned while a maximum of 30 people are allowed to attend a funeral. The Sunday News