Don’t relax corona measures: experts

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Blessings Mashaya
and Sindiso Mhlophe
SENIOR STAFF WRITERS


HEALTH experts are concerned about the continued relaxation of the national coronavirus lockdown, at a time that cases of local transmissions are soaring, the Daily News reports.
This comes as the government has allowed restaurants to start serving patrons within their premises, while also allowing gyms to reopen — despite the lethal virus showing that it’s on the rise in the region, with neighbouring South Africa warning this week that it may re-introduce a tight lockdown to combat the spread of the disease.
It also comes as Zimbabwe’s confirmed cases of Covid-19 have now breached the 600 mark, with authorities reporting 14 new infections on Wednesday.
The secretary-general of the Senior Hospital Doctors Association (SHDA), Arron Musara, said there was need to make sure that necessary restrictive measures were maintained to avoid increases in infections.
“The government must not rush to relax Covid-19 measures. It seems the focus is now on the economy, but relaxation increases the risk of having more positive cases.
“There is a need to make sure that more people are tested … We are likely to see more local transmissions and it’s worrisome,” he told the Daily News.
The secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR), Norman Matara, said there was need
to strengthen the country’s surveillance system to successfully mitigate the local spread of the virus.
“The number of unexplained local transmissions is worrying. It means our surveillance system is a little bit weak.
“We need to strengthen our surveillance systems by increasing the number of people being tested in the community, as well as conduct a robust contact tracing process.
“Those who test positive need to be isolated in identified isolation centres,” Matara told the Daily News.
He also said that the country’s economic and social situations were potential threats to the measures put in place to mitigate the local spread of Covid-19.
“The long queues for basic commodities like mealie-meal and sugar, where people cannot practice social distancing, is a huge problem.
“Health workers also need to be equipped with adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and be well remunerated so that they are able to do their job well, and to properly screen and diagnose Covid-19 suspected cases,” he added
The executive director of the Community Working Group on Health (CWGH), Itai Rusike, also said there was need to improve contact tracing and testing throughout the country — in order to rapidly identify and isolate secondary cases, to break the transmission chains.
“Outbreak risks in high-vulnerability settings should be identified and minimised, with measures in these settings to maximise physical distancing and minimise the risk of new outbreaks.
“Prevention measures should be established in schools, public transport, workplaces and all public spaces,” Rusike said.

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