‘Relaxing lockdown restrictions way to go’

SENIOR doctors say lifting of coronavirus (Covid-19) lockdown restrictions — owing to economic challenges the country is grappling with — will avert starvation, the Daily News reports.

This comes as Zimbabwe has claimed it has come out of the woods regarding the containment of the Covid-19 pandemic, with the country’s confirmed cases standing above 7 500 of which close to 5 700 have since recovered.
Senior Hospital Doctors Association secretary-general Aaron Musara told the Daily News yesterday that while the number of infected people could be higher with more testing, the country had generally managed to control the spread of the pandemic considering the state of Zimbabwe’s health delivery system.
“At just over 7 500 official cases, our numbers are relatively low. With most of our hospitals on their knees, we have serious problems in diagnosis and subsequent testing. As things stand, many are being diagnosed when they self-suspect the diagnosis and go for voluntary testing.
“The role of medical services which could lead to diagnosis of more cases is not reflected in those results, but all the same, the purpose of the lockdowns was largely to allow for preparation for handling the situation.
“The world, including Zimbabwe, cannot continue to be in hiding forever.
“There is no need for Zimbabwe to remain held down by lockdowns otherwise starvation would be the challenge as the economy takes a toll.
“Precautions should, however remain in place,” Musara said.
This comes as Defence minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, who is the head of the country’s Covid-19 taskforce, last week told the National Assembly that the country was moving in the right direction in the fight against the deadly pandemic.
“The success story is pointing to the good mechanisms that we have put in place, including the curfew which we introduced after a very scientific review which analyses our capacity and capability.
“Decisions that we make are informed whilst thorough research is done. If and when we are satisfied that the environment is conducive, we will consider that (curfew review).
“At the moment, there is equilibrium between increases in infections and increases in recoveries, so it is important that we continuously review as we improve. We do have eight pillars of experts who study the situation within our region and also, we work very closely with WHO.
“At the moment as I have alluded to, we have reached an equilibrium stage in our statistics. We are satisfied that our interventions are bearing fruit,” Muchinguri-Kashiri said.
In that light, the government also announced a decision to re-open schools (for those writting examinations) this month despite resistance from teachers and other stakeholders who feel it is not yet safe to do so.
But Muchinguri-Kashiri insisted that the decision to re-open schools was done after wide consultations.
“A lot of research was done by the ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, together with the ministry of Health and they are responsible for making recommendations to the taskforce, which also makes its recommendations to the Cabinet.”

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