Friday, 3 December 2021

CHIWENGA CONFIRMS FOURTH WAVE

 As it was confirmed that Zimbabwe is now in the midst of the fourth Covid-19 wave fuelled by the Omicron variant, details were given yesterday of how the new compulsory 10-day quarantine for all returning residents and visitors will work.

Those away for less than 14 days will be able to quarantine at home, if an inspection finds their home suitable, while those away for more than 14 days will have to quarantine at a public or private facility at their own expense. Both groups will be given a PCR test on arrival, regardless of whether they were tested outside the country, and both groups will have a second PCR test after five days.

At the same time police announced that enforcement of all lockdown regulations, new and old, was being stepped up. Check points will ensure compliance with the curfew, and bars and night clubs are being checked to ensure only the fully vaccinated are let in, and all businesses, including these entertainment businesses, being checked to ensure the 7pm closing time.

Confirming the arrival of the fourth wave in Zimbabwe and the presence of the Omicron variant, Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care Constantino Chiwenga said genome sequence of samples from Masvingo and other places had confirmed the presence of Omicron variant in Zimbabwe and said vaccination backed by compliance with public health measures was the only way of dealing with the wave.

Speaking during the clean up of the open space near Masvingo Hospital, the Vice President said Zimbabweans must adhere to Covid-19 rules and regulations to contain the fourth wave and those who had not been vaccinated should get jabbed promptly.

VP Chiwenga cautioned Zimbabweans against complacency as the new Omicron variant was now in the country.

Tests on specimens collected from positive students from Masvingo Teacher’s College showed the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

“Of late, we have been witnessing a lot of complacency with regards to abiding by Covid-19 safety protocols set by WHO and the Government. Individuals are not paying attention to these safety protocols but we need to change from that behaviour because if we are to survive this battle,” he said.

“The recent spike in Covid-19 cases since the beginning of this month shows that we are now in the fourth wave and in fact we have just finished genomic sequencing and as I speak here in Masvingo, we have already established that their new Omicron variant is here from the genomic sequencing done on specimens collected from positive students the Masvingo Teacher’s College.”

The VP said the only way to win the war against the Covid-19 pandemic was to get jabbed.

Government was considering extending vaccination to cover those aged from 12 years as the nation continued to extend vaccination. Other countries have been vaccinating ever younger children as vaccines are proved safe, with Zimbabwe taking the first step recently when Sinovac was certified as safe for those aged 16 and above. Herald

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