THE Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights Doctors (ZADHR) has warned that the country must prepare for a possible second wave of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic despite recording a major decline in confirmed cases early this week.
By Brenna Matendere
On the other hand, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has also urged nations to be vigilant, stressing that the global cases were yet to reach the peak.
Zimbabwe’s conformed cases spiked to 591 by the end of June, from 34 on May 2.
Most of the new cases recorded were among returnees from South Africa, Botswana and the United Kingdom.
Only seven COVID-19-related deaths have so far been recorded.
Speaking to NewsDay yesterday, ZADHR secretary Norman Matara said government should not relax or think the situation was normalising.
“Recording no cases in one day is no reason to relax,” he said after no cases were recorded on Sunday.
“Previously, there was a period that we went through for almost one week without reporting a single case of COVID-19, but that did not mean we were out of the woods yet.”
Matara pointed out that due to the sharp rise in cases in South Africa, where most returning citizens were coming from, there was a possibility of a similar situation happening in the country, resulting in the second wave.
“We need to remain extra vigilant and cautious, continue enhancing our disease surveillance and make sure the public continues to practise social distancing and good hygiene practices,” he said.
“With cases of COVID-19 continuing to increase in neighbouring South Africa, and we have people returning home from that country, we should always remain on high alert. It is definitely not time to relax.”
In his media brief on Monday, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus echoed similar sentiments, saying: “The virus still has a lot of room to move. We all want this to be over. We all want to get on with our lives. But the hard reality is: this is not even close to being over.”
Itai Rusike, the Community Working Group on Health executive director, reiterated that “rolling back the lockdown will also depend on voluntary informed consent by the public to comply with appropriate public health measures”.
Agnes Mahomva, the COVID-19 national taskforce co-ordinator, told NewsDay that government would not relax measures owing to declining cases.
“We are not out of the woods at all. We need to keep strengthening our preparedness and response. We also need to remain focused,” she said.