Covid-19: No need for complacency

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ZIMBABWE recorded two coronavirus deaths at the weekend, a clear signal that we are far from flattening the pandemic curve and that we should treble our efforts to contain and mitigate the spread of the disease.

As of yesterday morning, Zimbabwe had recorded 486 positive cases of the pandemic, including six deaths and 64 recoveries. We have 416 active cases. The two deaths were in Bulawayo and the Midlands provinces.

We have noticed with great worry that cases of the killer disease have been spiking rapidly over the past month as Zimbabweans abroad continue to return home from countries such as South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and the United Kingdom. Most of the new cases are attributed to these returnees.

But last week we recorded 20 local transmissions in one day — a very worrying phenomenon.

Of concern to us is the country seems to be relaxing in the fight against this killer disease. Our government is doing very little to carry out as many tests as it should to determine the extent of the pandemic and appropriately deploy measures to curb its spread.

While we applaud the government for committing more resources to testing returnees given that they seem to be more affected by the virus, it is our considered argument that it should also not neglect local testing and contact tracing.

At least returnees with Covid-19 are detected easily while in quarantine centres unlike locals who could be roaming the streets spreading the disease unknowingly. We need more local testing and the government must do whatever is in its powers to source more testing kits.

We are glad that development partners and corporates are playing their part in fighting the killer disease. We have seen them donating all sorts of materials to the fight, among them, personal protective equipment, ventilators, hand sanitisers, masks and gloves. Public, private partnerships are the way to go in this life or death fight.

There is absolutely no need for complacency in the struggle against Covid-19. The deaths at the weekend call for introspection on measures the government has put in place to mitigate the spread of the disease and look at their efficacy. We need to reflect on decisions we have made, how correct they are and if need be, revisit them.

Several questions have been raised on the wisdom of relaxing lockdown measures when we were not sure of the extent of the disease in the country.

More questions are being asked on why the country intends to re-open schools on July 28 when cases of the pandemic are going up daily.

There is no need for complacency if we are to win the war against Covid-19.

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