Let’s remain vigilant

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IN recent weeks we have observed the government relaxing measures that were put in place to contain the lethal coronavirus pandemic, a move informed by a huge decline in Covid-19 infections.
Though the country is yet to flatten the coronavirus curve, the government is optimistic that as we get into summer, infections will become less and less. The government has allowed the resumption of tourism activities, gymnasiums, intercity travel, driving lessons and schools over the next six weeks in three phases.

The relaxation is meant to open up the economy, which has been under huge strain since President Emmerson Mnangagwa imposed a national lockdown in March to contain and mitigate the deadly disease that has wrecked economies across the world, killed thousands and infected millions.

As medical experts told our sister newspaper, the Daily News on Sunday, the major worry is that the country is susceptible to a second wave of Covid-19 infections if we continue to relax measures without mitigating strategies.

There have been vicious resurgences in other countries and Zimbabwe must be on high alert to avert any recurrence. Countries such as Albania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Montenegro, and North Macedonia are currently seeing higher case numbers in September than they did earlier in the year, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) saying the countries are facing a “very serious situation”.

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In the United Kingdom, for example, the number of Covid-19 infections almost doubled in a week, with around 3 000 cases being announced on a daily basis, prompting authorities to enforce the rule that no more than six people could gather socially while also contemplating closing schools for two weeks in October.

Similarly, France reported 16 096 new cases and the Netherlands 2 541 in a day, the highest figures they have recorded. In the Middle East, Lebanon’s total number of Covid-19 cases surged by 1 027 to 32 805 on September 24 2020, the highest daily rise since the pandemic outbreak in February.

The death toll from the novel coronavirus went up by one to 329 in Lebanon following the relaxation of lockdown measures, prompting the country’s Education Ministry to postpone the opening of public and private schools until October 12, 2020 in an attempt to curb the virus’ spread.

With what is happening abroad, Zimbabwe needs to be on high alert to avert a resurgence and we agree with the Senior Hospital Doctors Association that we should not relax coronavirus mitigation measures that include sanitising hands or washing hands with clean and running water, social distancing and wearing masks.

The country also needs to continue screening, conducting tests, quarantine and isolation to avoid risking an increase in infections

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