Friday, 9 July 2021


LOCAL health experts yesterday noted that Zimbabwe was three months behind the ever-mutating COVID-19 virus, and suggested that the best brains were now required to tame the tide.

This came as the southern African nation recorded 56 deaths and 2 156 new infections in a single day on Thursday.

The health experts also called on government to deploy police to funerals to control numbers after it emerged that citizens were turning out in their numbers at funerals, disregarding the limit of 30 imposed by the government.

Mpilo Central Hospital Chief executive officer Solwayo Ngwenya said big brains were now wanted to save the country from the COVID-19 catastrophe.

“Unfortunately, you will need brains to craft a massive plan to get out of this massive unfolding catastrophe,” he said.

“We are two to three months behind the virus.” Despite President Emmerson Mnangagwa claiming on Wednesday that the country was winning the war against the virus, Zimbabwe has been recording a surge in positive COVID-19 cases.

Government is also struggling to vaccinate its population after setting an ambitious target of inoculating over 10 million, representing 60% of the population.

Medical and Dental Private Practitioners Association of Zimbabwe (MDPPAZ) president Johannes Marisa said a hard lockdown was the only option left for the country to get out of the quagmire.

“We are noticing some skyrocketing figures. For sure, COVID-19 is getting out of control. So many people are presenting symptoms and testing positive as well,” he said.

“We need to take drastic measures if we are going to flatten our curve very fast. We need to make sure we reduce transmission among the people. The following measures are important: a hard lockdown, we need to reduce movement of people at the moment. These things should be taken seriously.”

Marisa implored members of MDPPAZ to speedily relay medical information to the COVID-19 taskforce as the country battles to contain the spread of the respiratory disease.

This follows reports that a number of COVID-19 cases and deaths could be going unrecorded, especially in rural communities.

Rural communities were spared the high infection rates during the first and second waves of the pandemic in Zimbabwe.

However, the third wave, which according to the World Health Organisation is characterised by the Delta, Alpha, Beta and Gamma variants, has found its way in many rural communities in the country, particularly in Mashonaland West province.

“All medical professionals should expeditiously send information about positive PCR [polymerase chain reaction] patients or rapid antigen that they see whether outpatients or in-patients. All members are thus expected to submit reports everyday by 9pm to the city council informatics head, Mr Mukeredzi or MDPPZA secretariat,” Marisa wrote.

“It is a now a routine to report notifiable conditions like tuberculosis, typhoid, cholera, polio, measles as fast they are diagnosed. There shall be a notification form that will be used as data collection tool to minimise data redundancy, it will be modified to make it user-friendly. By Saturday (today) afternoon, all members will have access to the notification form.”

He said the Health ministry and local authorities’ health departments would carry routine checks to see if medical practitioners were complying.

Marisa said there was need for collective efforts if the country was to win the battle against COVID-19.

“We have to be vigilant and resilient as we face this third wave of COVID-19. We need to work together if we are to conquer this disease,” he said.

The doctors’ call came as World Health Organisation (WHO) observed that COVID-19 cases in Africa were doubling every 18 days, compared with every 21 days only a week ago.

WHO regional director for Africa, Matshidiso Moeti, yesterday warned that Africa should brace for the worst as the COVID-19 third wave sweeps across the continent.

Vaccination rates remain sluggish, with only 16 million people, 2% of the African population, fully vaccinated. Newsday


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