BY PHYLLIS MBANJE
ZIMBABWE is staring at a second wave of COVID-19 that could kill thousands in the country if regulations on social distancing and proper masking up are not observed, health authorities have warned.
Health and Child Care deputy minister John Mangwiro yesterday told NewsDay that the second wave of COVID-19 and impact would be harder than the initial
This came amid concerns
that Zimbabweans were now more relaxed as if the coronavirus pandemic was over.
“There is a new wave of COVID-19 and people must not relax at all. Look at how it started in the past and spread. It started in Asia, and then went to Europe and Africa, but now the second wave is going to be worse,” he said.
This also comes at a time government has further relaxed its COVID-19 regulations and has opened up airports for international travel, while the number of confirmed cases continues to rise.
Last night, Zimbabwe recorded 15 new positive cases and two deaths, pushing the number of infections to
8 389 and 245 deaths, respectively.
Most businesses have also relaxed measures to ensure that employees and visitors observe COVID-19 protocols.
Government has reopened schools for phase two, and plans are underway to open other classes next week as teachers and education stakeholders express fears that the measures to combat the pandemic were not enough, including personal protective clothing and sanitisers.
“Look at how it has started there. We should not relax and relent at observing COVID-19 measures like wearing masks and social distancing. It’s important to keep it in mind that when the second wave comes we will not be spared because it is affecting people out there. It can become even worse than what it is doing in those Asian and European countries.
“We must not relent. You the media people we request that you must keep telling and spreading the word that COVID-19 is likely to come back in a deadly second wave. Look at countries like the United States, where almost 20 000 people are testing positive for the coronavirus daily. God looks after those who also make an effort to preserve their lives,” Mangwiro said.
He said if Zimbabweans relax, the nation would be wiped out, adding: “COVID-19 is real and it kills. Other countries are already instituting lockdown measures again. France is on lockdown. The United Kingdom since Thursday is on lockdown. Some states in the USA are under lockdown. It is important that we remain vigilant. Let’s keep encouraging each other to take care of ourselves,” he said.
Bulawayo’s Mpilo Central Hospital acting chief executive officer Solwayo Ngwenya also warned that if people did not take heed of the COVID-19 prevention mechanisms, the new wave of the pandemic, expected to be deadly, would kill a lot of people before Christmas.
“When you are relaxed, that is when the coronavirus gains strength. Some people could be buried before Christmas. Please may you not be among them. Follow all advice and COVID-19 regulations religiously,” Ngwenya
The warnings by Mangwiro and Ngwenya come at a time the head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has gone into quarantine after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.
Announcing on his official Twitter handle on Sunday night, Ghebreyesus said: “I have been identified as a contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. I am well and without symptoms, but will self-quarantine over the coming days, in line with WHO protocols, and work from
“It is critically important that we all comply with health guidance. This is how we will break chains of COVID-19 transmission, suppress the virus, and protect health systems.”
However, there were mixed reactions to his pronouncement with some saying vile words to the WHO boss.
The WHO leader has previously been caught in the eye of a storm over allegations that his organisation had misled the world over the coronavirus.
Meanwhile, following the upsurge of COVID-19 across Europe, the emergency committee on COVID-19 met on October 29 to review the situation and the progress made. They advised that the pandemic still constituted a public health emergency of international concern, and urged a focus on response efforts based on lessons learnt and strong science.
The committee expressed appreciation for WHO’s leadership and activities throughout the global response, including its critical role in developing evidence-based guidance, providing countries with technical assistance and critical supplies and equipment, communicating clear information and addressing misinformation, and convening the Solidarity Trials and the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator.