Gvt to tighten Zim lockdown . . . as fears of a second corona wave grow  


Fungi Kwaramba

©️  AUTHORITIES are set to deploy more security forces on the streets in urban areas, to tighten the extended coronavirus lockdown — as fears of a second wave of the lethal disease grow, the Daily News reports.

This comes as reported positive cases of Covid-19 have risen sharply over the past few days — with the government also expressing concern over the growing number of returning residents who are infected by the virus.

It also comes as some returning residents are said to be running away from quarantine centres around the country without having completed the prescribed time in isolation, to allow authorities to manage the disease in the event that it manifests itself among the returnees.

Health and Child Care minister Obadiah Moyo confirmed to the Daily News yesterday that his ministry had requested for more deployments of security forces to tighten the lockdown as part of measures to avert a second wave of coronavirus in the country.

“While we have been able to control local transmission, we are worried about the number of people who are getting into towns because there is a possibility of a second wave of transmissions.

“And as such, we have engaged the security forces to step in to enforce the lockdown, so that people stay at home and only essential service workers are allowed into towns.

“We are also concerned that some returning citizens are bringing the disease, and we have thus upped security surveillance not only in towns, but also along our borders because there is a danger of infected people getting into the country undetected,” Moyo told the Daily News.

Zimbabwe is currently under a stay-at-home order which was extended indefinitely by President Emmerson Mnangagwa over the past weekend, in a bid by authorities to maintain low infections in the country.

This came as cases of Covid-19 in the country have risen sharply over the past few days — climbing to 46, after almost two weeks without any new cases of the disease being reported.

The rising infections also come as the government has been criticised for failing to embark on an expanded programme of testing people for the virus, to ascertain the prevalence of the lethal disease among local communities.

So far, the country has recorded four deaths from the people who have tested positive for Covid-19. But on a positive note, 19 people have recovered from the deadly virus.

To underscore the challenges now bedevilling the extended national lockdown, Harare and Bulawayo were teeming with people yesterday — including vendors and money changers — despite all of them not qualifying to be among those allowed to return to work.

The same situation pertained to other towns around the country, where our news crews reported a worrying return to business as usual.

Meanwhile, the secretary general of the Senior Hospital Doctors Association (SHDA), Aaron Musara, has warned that if authorities don’t tighten the lockdown, they will not be able to control a second wave of Covid-19 in the country.

“According to the paperwork, our Covid-19 numbers are still very low, but there is a growing danger from the large number of people who are coming into towns.

“The question is, are we still on level two? If this was really level two, we would not expect to see so many people and such activity.

“Because of this, the risk of spread is very high.  We just have to cross our fingers that this won’t happen,” Musara told the Daily News.

This week, the government also said it was concerned by the rising positive cases of coronavirus in the country, which it attributed to returning residents.

As a result, authorities said they were scaling up surveillance at quarantine centres.
The director for Epidemiology and Disease Control in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Portia Manangazira, was among those who told the Daily News that authorities were worried about the rising cases of coronavirus in the country.

“We are getting more confirmed cases from returnees … and it’s a cause for concern.
“We appeal to the returnees to take heed of the public health control measures to stay in quarantine centres for their sake and that of their loved ones.

“We appreciate the help we are getting from the security services to ensure that people do not evade quarantine,” Manangazira told the Daily News.

She also admitted that there was overcrowding at some of the quarantine centres, but said authorities were working flat out to decongest such centres by establishing more facilities countrywide.

“The fact that some quarantine centres are overcrowded is a cause for concern, but we are doing all we can to decongest them by decentralising operations to provinces.

“We are expecting to receive more returnees from around the globe, but our message is that let us keep ourselves safe by following the public health recommendations,” Manangazira added.

“We also appeal to all Zimbabweans to remain vigilant, maintaining social distance and taking all precautionary measures.

“With the coming of winter, we have also had to increase our influenza surveillance systems which under normal circumstances begin in May and end in September.

“Now we are trying to identify influenza hotspots in the provinces, and screening people from there,” Manangazira told the Daily News further.

Available information shows that four of the eight new corona cases in the country are of returnees — three from the United Kingdom and one from Zambia.

According to World Health Organisation, the coronavirus comes from a large family of viruses that cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases.

Its symptoms include pneumonia, high fever, flu, shortness of breath and diarrhoea — and the precautions that have to be taken include covering your mouth when coughing and sneezing, and continuously washing one’s hands.


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1 Comment
  1. george says

    I think authorities should examine seriously the issue of transportation of commuters. The kind of congestion at bus stops is frightening to any authority who is serious about social distance/physical or inhibiting spread of covid-19. This I have witnessed in Gweru.

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