We must not rush to relax Covid-19 measures

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STATISTICS from the ministry of Health and Child Care on the coronavirus pandemic in the country show a steady slow down in the spread of the disease in the country, encouraging positive development.

As of Tuesday, the country had 5 378 confirmed cases of the disease, including 141 deaths and 4 105 recoveries. The recovery rate is at 76,3 percent.

The country, over the past two weeks, has been recording below an average daily 100 new confirmed Covid-19 cases.

These statistics give an impression that the country is slowly, but surely flattening the curve and presumably that inspired the government on Tuesday to relax some of the measures it decreed to contain and mitigate the spread of coronavirus.

Cabinet has, among other things, reviewed the commencement time of the dusk to dawn curfew to 8pm, expanded working hours to 4:30pm and lifted mandatory quarantine of immigrants if they test negative on arrival. The immigrants would be allowed to self-quarantine at home.

“Having noted the plight of the public and the need to lessen the risk of contracting Covid-19, Cabinet directed as follows, that the business hours which were ending at 15:00 hours be revisited to end at 1630 hours and the curfew to be extended to 2000 hours, that Public transport drivers undergo regular Covid-19 PCR tests and that public transport buses be allowed a dedicated lane at roadblocks to expedite their passage.

“Cabinet has further directed that immigrants who are PCR-negative on arrival will no longer be detained but be put on home quarantine and reviews will be conducted by the rapid response teams in that locality. Those who test positive on arrival will be placed in isolation centres,” Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa told journalists after the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday night.

While the relaxation is welcome, our advice to the government is that we should not rush to relax Covid-19 measures until we are cocksure that it would not result in a spike in the spread of the disease. Health experts have warned that we are far from flattening the curve, adding we need to continue to carry out tests widely. They believe there are far much more people who have the killer disease in the country, but that is not known because we have carried out very few tests due to lack of testing kits and chemicals.

It is in this regard that we urge the government not to rush to ease Covid-19 lockdown measures until we have scientific and mathematical proof that the coronavirus curve has flattened. Hasty decisions may prove suicidal given the state of our health delivery system.

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