MULTIMEDIA: Break down of the #COVID-19 pandemic, Zimbabwe records first casualty


Breaking down of the COVID-19 pandemic, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan and has spread around the world.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has a declared the outbreak of the new coronavirus a pandemic as health authorities around the globe continue to scramble to contain the sickness, first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December last year.

The virus, which causes a respiratory illness called COVID-19, has spread to at least 146 countries and territories on six continents, infecting more than 164,000 people and killing more than 6,400. The vast majority of infections and deaths have occurred in mainland China, where authorities placed a region of 60 million people under lockdown to contain the pathogen.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a new virus.
The disease causes respiratory illness (like the flu) with symptoms such as a cough, fever, and in more severe cases, difficulty breathing. You can protect yourself by washing your hands frequently, avoiding touching your face, and avoiding close contact (1 meter or 3 feet) with people who are unwell.


On February 15, 2020 The Ministry of Health said:  “There are no cases of coronavirus and Zimbabwe is on high alert with the national preparedness and response system having been activated. The three major airports, Robert Gabriel Mugabe, Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo and Victoria Falls, have all been assessed for their readiness, especially facilities for travellers’ screening, quarantine and isolation.

Hardly 12 hours after the first coronavirus case was announced on Friday in  Harare, another new case was confirmed.

Although the Ministry of Health and Child Care was yet to make an official announcement, Harare Mayor Herbert Gomba took to his micro-blogging Twitter account to announce the latest development.

“New two cases confirmed in Harare ,let’s work to fight this corona virus”, tweeted on Saturday morning.

In less than 72 hours of the announcement, The Health ministry has confirmed the death of one of the two confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, who was under hospital care at Harare’s Wilkins Hospital.

“I can confirm that one of the cases that tested positive for coronavirus has passed away. More details will be shared in due course,” the Health ministry’s permanent secretary, Agnes Mahomva told NewDay.

She did not name the person, although ZBC tweeted earlier that Health minister Obadiah Moyo had confirmed Zororo Makamba’s death.

BREAKING: Broadcaster, Zororo Makamba becomes Zim’s first coronavirus casualty

The Health ministry has confirmed the death of one of the two confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, who was under hospital care at Harare’s Wilkins Hospital.

“I can confirm that one of the cases that tested positive for coronavirus has passed away. More details will be shared in due course,” the Health ministry’s permanent secretary, Agnes Mahomva told NewDay.

She did not name the person, although ZBC tweeted earlier that Health minister Obadiah Moyo had confirmed Zororo’s death.

He was 30.

ZIMBABWE DILEMMA: Doctors issue strike threat

The Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA) has proposed that hospitals scale down to emergency mode and the cessation of all routine outpatient departments operations, as they decried the lack of preparedness at public hospitals in dealing with the novel coronavirus.

In a statement, ZHDA president, Tawanda Zvakada said doctors were vulnerable to the disease, also known as COVID-19, as they dealt with high risk professionals.

“The lack of clear direction and training has resulted in overcrowding at entry points to health facilities and left frontline medical personnel attending to patients without the bare minimum of personal protective equipment (PPE),” he said.

“As such strict measures must be put in place to protect us and the nation at large.”

The doctors warned that if their concerns were not addressed, they would not be able to “continue conducting our duties, exposing ourselves and risk spreading the virus to our loved ones at home”.

Confirmed cases in Africa

There are now more than 700 confirmed cases of coronavirus across the continent, with a number of African countries imposing a range of prevention and containment measures against the spread of the pandemic.

According to the latest data, of the WHO on COVID-19 in Africa, the breakdown remains fluid as countries confirm cases as and when. The whole of Africa has rising cases with a sizeable number of countries holding out.

We shall keep updating this list which will be put in sub-continental blocs: East, West, Central, southern and North Africa.

North Africa

Algeria –139
Egypt – 294
Morocco – 96
Tunisia – 60

Virus-free = Western Sahara, Libya

West Africa

Benin – 2
Burkina Faso – 75
Ghana – 19
Guinea – 2
Ivory Coast – 14
Liberia – 3
Mauritania – 2
Nigeria- 22
Senegal – 56
Togo – 15
The Gambia – 1
Niger – 1
Cape Verde – 3

Virus-free = Sierra Leone, Mali, Guinea-Bissau

Central Africa

Cameroon – 27
Central African Republic – 3
Congo-Brazzaville – 4
DR Congo – 23
Equatorial Guinea – 6
Gabon – 6
Chad – 1

Virus-free = Sao Tome and Principe

Southern Africa

Eswatini – 1
Namibia – 3
South Africa – 240
Zambia – 2
Zimbabwe – 2 (With one death from the two confirmed cases by the Ministry of Health on 23 March 2020)
Madagascar – 3
Angola – 2
Mozambique – 1

Virus-free = Malawi, Comoros, Lesotho, Botswana

#Coronavirus from the origin (China)- What is known in numbers

The unprecedented measures have slowed the number of infections in China, but new clusters of infections in South Korea, Italy, Iran, France and Germany are continuing to stoke international concern. Dr Bruce Aylward, head of a WHO-China joint mission, said China has “changed the course of this outbreak” and that the health emergency there has “plateaued and then come down faster than one would have expected”.

However, he warned much of the world is “simply not ready” to match China’s response.

In early March, more cases were also reported throughout sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, although those regions remain the least hard hit.

How did the outbreak begin?

On December 31 last year, China notified WHO of several cases of an unusual pneumonia in Wuhan, a port city of 11 million people in the central Hubei province. Several of the infections were linked to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, which was shut down the following day.

Chinese authorities ruled out a recurrence of the virus that causes the severe acute respiratory (SARS), an illness that originated in China and killed more than 770 people worldwide in 2002-2003. On January 7, officials said they had identified a new virus, now named SARS-Cov-2.

Two days later, a 61-year-old man who had purchased goods from the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market died from the infection – he was the country’s first known victim of the virus.

In the following weeks, the outbreak ballooned across China, spread across the border, and reached all but one of the world’s continents.

How does the virus spread?

Like other coronaviruses, the new one is transmitted from person to person via droplets when an infected person breathes out, coughs or sneezes. It can also spread via contaminated surfaces such as door handles or railings.

Infectious disease and virus specialists estimate that each person carrying the virus is passing it to two or three other people on average.

COVID-19 causes a range of symptoms. The most common include fever, fatigue and a dry cough. The disease is mild in more than 80 percent of cases, severe in 13 percent and critical in 6 percent. In the most critical cases, the infection can cause severe pneumonia, multiple organ failure and death.

WHO says COVID-19 has killed about 3.4 percent of confirmed cases globally, a figure far above the fatality rate for the seasonal flu.

The Outbreak

Italy, which has the largest number of reported cases outside China, last week locked down the entire country to prevent the spread of the virus. The European country has more than 24,000 cases and 1,809 deaths.

Iran has reported 13,983 cases with 724 deaths, with several government officials infected, and some dying, from the disease. The epicentre of the infection in Iran appears to be the city of Qom, which is home to many shrines significant to followers of Shia Islam.

Concern has also surrounded South Korea, where an outbreak connected to church saw the number of infections rise quickly in late September, with 8,162 cases and 75 deaths reported as of March 16. However, South Korea, like China, has shown a downward trend in new cases.

Trajectory of #COVID-19 in countries with most infections

 Worst epidemics in recent history


The new type of #coronavirus has had a greater proliferation in a shorter amount of time than its predecessors SARS and MERS. However, the percentage of deaths remains much lower. Nearly 10 percent of those infected died during the SARS outbreak, while 35 percent died during MERS.

Older people, especially those with chronic illnesses such as heart or lung diseases, are more at risk. Among younger people, deaths are rarer, according to WHO, but some have made headlines, such as the 34-year-old Chinese doctor who was reprimanded by authorities for sounding an early alarm about the virus only to later succumb to it.

On average, however, WHO says people with mild cases recover in about two weeks, while those who are sicker can take anywhere from three to six weeks.

Sources: Aljazeera, AfricaNews, Local governments /World Health Organization



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