Monday, 13 July 2020

WHO WARNS ZIMBAS AS LOCAL TRANSMISSIONS RISE


ZIMBABWE is among countries that have been warned by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that local Covid-19 transmissions could ground the health sectors if citizens remain blind to increasing figures.

The country is reaching the 1 000 Covid-19 mark with increased local transmissions while Government observes that citizens are no longer following lockdown measures.

In the past few months, the country’s Covid-19 cases were largely imported but beginning this month there has been a shift as local transmissions have exceeded external ones.

Government raised a red flag on cross border transporters as they are derailing the country’s efforts towards preventing the spread of the global pandemic. 

Cross border transporters are listed among the high-risk group for Covid-19 largely due to high numbers recorded in neighbouring countries.

Government’s commitment towards repatriation of Zimbabweans has seen more than 12 000 returnees being received through country’s borders while an Air Zimbabwe flight has been deployed to repatriate citizens stuck in China.

The repatriation process has been stalled after the plane developed a technical fault in Bangkok, Thailand, en-route to China.

In a statement following the Covid-19 Ad-hoc Inter-ministerial Taskforce meeting, Information Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa yesterday said the spike in local transmissions could collapse the country’s health sector. 

Already Bulawayo referral hospitals, Mpilo Central Hospital and United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) are feeling the heat as health workers have tested positive for Covid-19.

More than 40 nurses at the two hospitals have tested positive while approximately 300 health workers are placed on mandatory self-isolation leaving the medical institutions with skeletal staff.

“My fellow Zimbabweans, our infection numbers are rising and so are our death rates. This translates into an increased risk. Our health facilities will be stretched and we just cannot afford the complacency we are currently witnessing. The World Health Organisation health experts are cautioning nations on the threat posed by local transmissions in the fight against Covid-19. Zimbabwe is not exempted,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.

The minister said citizens should learn from President Mnangagwa’s message that while the need to eke a living is important, a life lost can never be resurrected.

She said citizens should take lockdown seriously, just the way they did when Government imposed it in March.

“We address you when our Covid-19 infection rate approaches the 1 000 mark. It is a time we note that the nation appears to be suffering from lockdown fatigue. But the fact that we already have been under lockdown for a long time does not give us an immunity from infections. Our vigilance should be the same level as it was on Day 1. Let us not run out of steam,” she said. 

Minister Mutsvangwa said Government’s Chief Coordinator on Covid-19, Dr Agnes Mahomva, recommended that there be an increase in community surveillance and strengthening cross border security checks among other measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

The Minister said Government has employed 13 doctors to spearhead the Covid-19 health strategy and prevention as local transmissions increase.

“In light of the increased positive cases that are being recorded, efforts are being channelled to resource medical facilities that will deal with Covid-19 cases. As such 13 foreign trained Zimbabwean doctors and members have been appointed and they are to assume duty starting from today, 13 July 2020,” said the Minister. Chronicle

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