ED, govt must take heed of WHO advice


PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa and his government must seriously take heed of the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s advice that hurriedly lifting coronavirus lockdown measures may spark “deadly resurgence” in infections.

With 14 cases of the deadly pandemic, including three deaths, and under a 21-day lockdown, Zimbabwe must not fool itself that it is out of the woods. In reality, the low level of infections is a reflection of the country’s failure to test and screen more people. As of Sunday, we had only tested 547 people — a measly figure.

The more tests we have, the upward increase in people testing positive to the pandemic and it will be suicidal of our government to lift lockdown measures at the end of the 21-day shutdown — six days from today.

Zimbabwe needs an extension of the lockdown until we have done several tests, including door-to-door despite that the shutdown will hit our economy hard, further driving it into the precipice.

It is against this backcloth that we appeal to Mnangagwa and his government to take WHO’s advice seriously not to rush and lift the lockdown measures.

WHO boss Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said countries should be cautious about easing restrictions, even as some struggle with the economic impact.

Europe’s worst hit countries, Spain and Italy, are both relaxing some measures, while their lockdowns continue. Globally there are over 1,6 million cases of coronavirus and over 100 000 deaths.

Speaking at a virtual news conference in Geneva at the weekend, Tedros said there had been a “welcome slowing” of the epidemics in some European countries.

He said the WHO was working with governments to form strategies for easing restrictions, but that this should not be done too soon.

“Lifting restrictions too quickly could lead to a deadly resurgence,” he said.
“The way down can be as dangerous as the way up if not managed properly.”
So chilling was the WHO boss warning that the virus was now spreading rapidly in other countries. He highlighted Africa, where he said the virus had reached rural areas.

“We are now seeing clusters of cases and community spread in more than 16 countries on the continent,” he said.
Given the state of our rural public health system, this is scary.

ED and his government must continue to enforce lockdown measures way after the shutdown, otherwise we perish!

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