Zimbabwe must avoid Covid-19 prevention mode fatigue


AS the world continues to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic, coronavirus cases are starting to spike again in Zimbabwe; and worryingly they are mostly local transmissions.
The country reported 84 new Covid-19 cases on Monday, bringing the national tally to over 10 000, including close to 280 deaths since the pandemic hit Zimbabwe’s shores in March. But as the cases rise, the country’s health facilities appear to be weathering the onslaught.

Zimbabwe has lifted most of its lockdown restrictions as the nation seeks to rebuild the economy that has been impacted negatively by the pandemic and the drought.

The country’s economy is still too fragile to bear another complete lockdown, hence we must do all we can to avert a second wave of Covid-19 and make sure cases do not continue to spike.

The Africa Centres for Disease Control (Africa CDC) is warning governments to step up preparations for a second wave, while in its recent update on Africa, the World Health Organisation (WHO) encouraged member states to observe all precautionary measures diligently and comprehensively.

Africa CDC said the time to prepare for a second wave is truly now, urging governments “not to get into prevention fatigue mode”.

Zimbabwe, like most African countries, is usually focused on testing travellers, patients, or contacts, hence there is fear that a significant number of Covid-19 positive cases are being missed.

Testing should now be happening more within the population as opposed to testing being carried out among the sick. When this happens, we are likely to capture more infected people, including the asymptomatic ones.

We, therefore, urge Zimbabweans to wear face masks properly and practice physical distancing so as to avoid losing the hard-fought for ground in the fight against Covid-19.

As we approach the end-of-year holidays, we urge people not to relent on adhering to coronavirus preventive measures. It we relax, the sacrifices and gains that were made since the beginning of this year in terms of bringing the pandemic down could be completely wiped out.

And as the second wave of coronavirus approaches, Africa has a plan; Centres for Disease Control Africa’s director John Nkengasong said in recent weeks, the continent started to distribute 2,7 million rapid antigen tests.

The number of coronavirus cases in Africa has surpassed two million and by mid-2021, health officials hope to vaccinate 60 percent of the continent’s population with one of the several promising new vaccines although it’s up to the continent’s leaders to try to make that happen.

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