Monday, 13 April 2020

CORONAVIRUS : WE ARE IN TROUBLE, SAYS DOCS


DOCTORS have warned that positive cases of the deadly coronavirus in the country are set to rise sharply in the final days of the current lockdown, as the disease will have blossomed locally by then, the Daily News reports.

This comes as the government has admitted  it has not done enough so far to combat the spread of the lethal virus in the country.

It also comes as there are growing calls for President Emmerson Mnangagwa to extend the current 21-day national lockdown, to allow for more testing for Covid-19 across the country.

The secretary of the Zimbabwe Association for Human Rights Doctors (ZAHRD), Norman Matara told the Daily News at the weekend that the total number of people who have contracted the virus in the country — which currently stands at 14, after just 547 tests — was likely to rise significantly in the coming days.

He said this was because the maximum incubation period for the virus — which is the time it takes before it becomes fully blown — was about 21 days.

“Taking a cue from global trends, the figures should start to rise exponentially before it reaches its peak, given that we are entering the final week of the 21-day lockdown.

“Going forward, the graph is expected to start flattening and eventually fall. However, the fact that we are not doing enough testing makes it difficult to tell what will happen, because we may be misled by the figures.

“We wait to see what the coming week has in store,” Matara told the Daily News.
 On his part, the secretary-general of the Senior Hospital Doctors Association (SHDA), Arron Musara, said the country had not done enough testing for the virus to correctly project the extent of infections.

“Our biggest challenge is that the surveillance and contact tracking has not been robust, if we consider the number of tests being done per day, where we have had no tests on some days.

“This confirms our inability to catch the disease. We are certainly not out of trouble … because the figures could increase in the coming weeks.

“The government should consider extending the lockdown, while at the same time taking into consideration our economic circumstance,” Musara said.

“This is something they must seriously look into because honestly, we are in trouble,” he added. The deputy minister of Health and Child Care, John Mangwiro, said the government was working on a mapping scenario and would soon release its findings.

“A team of our health experts are still compiling the data, and we will make it public as soon as this is through,” he said.

Government spokesperson Nick Mangwana warned there were huge challenges ahead, urging people to heed the lockdown measures.
“As we ramp-up our testing, the number of #Covid19Zim positive cases keeps creeping up. Out of 547 tests, we have now recorded 14 positive cases and three deaths.

“As curves elsewhere are flattening, we are not out of the woods. #SocialDistancing has helped flatten the curve elsewhere,” he said on twitter.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the incubation period for the virus can be as long as 24 days, although the average is about three days. 

The WHO also says a very long incubation period could reflect double exposure. Daily News

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