HEALTH experts warned authorities yesterday against rushing to ease coronavirus restrictions further without ensuring citizens’ safety, saying this could lead to a second wave of the killer disease in the country, the Daily News reports.
This comes after President Emmerson Mnangagwa also implored Zimbabweans on Monday to remain vigilant, warning that the lethal virus was still a threat to the country.
Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, the health experts welcomed Mnangagwa’s timely reminder about the threat still posed by Covid-19, but said authorities needed to tighten restrictions to avoid another wave of the virus in the country.
The secretary-general of the Senior Hospital Doctors Association (SHDA), Aaron Musara, was among those who cautioned against the wholesale reopening of the economy.
“It is unfortunate that the call for people not to be complacent is being made at a time we have seen the reopening of some units that were closed during the lockdown, which we think was very effective.
“In recent weeks, we have seen bottle stores reopening and no protective measures are being followed there.
“It is not clear what measures the government has put in place to monitor adherence to measures to contain the virus,” Musara told the Daily News.
The president of the Zimbabwe Nurses Association (Zina), Enock Dongo, said authorities needed to enforce compliance by citizens to adhere to all protocols such as sanitising and maintaining social distance.
“We have to see all the hygienic issues, including sanitising and wearing masks being followed.
“But these days it does not seem to be the case, yet what we have learned about the virus is that it can stay within us when the weather is not conducive for its survival.
“The government needs to ensure that people adhere to the hygienic requirements because the president (Mnangagwa) is spot on when he says we are not there yet,” Dongo said.
On his part, national public health expert, Prosper Chonzi, said while he agreed with the experts, the reopening of the country — including borders and restaurants — had become a necessity.
“It is true that before a vaccine is found we cannot afford to let our guard down. It is important for us, with our weak public health system, to always be alert and continue to put on our masks, washing our hands and maintaining social distance,” Chonzi told the Daily News.
This comes as Mnangagwa has warned Zimbabweans to remain on guard against the killer virus, which has infected millions around the world.
Speaking at the burial of national hero Ruphus Chigudu at the National Heroes Acre in Harare on Monday, Mnangagwa said complacency in fighting the virus could lead to disaster.
“The novel coronavirus is still with us. Don’t be mistaken. We must not allow complacency to trigger a relapse.
“We value life above all else. Voting and democracy are enjoyed by the living not the sick, dying or the dead,” he told the mourners.
Zimbabwe is still under an 8pm-to-dawn curfew introduced when cases of Covid-19 began rising sharply as the virus spread rapidly then.
The disease has so far killed more than 200 people, including former Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement minister Perrance Shiri.
Last week, United States of America president Donald Trump became the latest high profile person to contract the disease.