BY Staff Reporter
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has extended the COVID-19-induced lockdown measures by a further two weeks amid concerns that the country could be hit by a fourth wave of the pandemic by year-end.
In his address to the nation yesterday, Mnangagwa said it was worrisome that Zimbabwe’s neighbouring countries were currently experiencing the fourth wave.
He called for strict adherence to World Health Organisation (WHO) COVID-19 regulations, and urgent vaccination of the populace.
“Everyone eligible for vaccination must get vaccinated urgently. There is no good reason to delay.”
“Our country, however, still has a long way to go to reach over 60% of the population for herd immunity. Several countries globally and in our region are beginning to experience the fourth wave of the pandemic. It is quite worrisome to us — these trends in countries that are next to us,” Mnangagwa said.
“In most of our neighbours, infections have shown an upward trend. We, therefore, need to remain vigilant now and not later if we are to effectively control the current third wave and avoid a fourth wave.”
On Sunday, the country recorded 74 deaths and 437 new COVID-19 infections. A total of 1 864 294 people had been vaccinated with the first dose, while 1 022 718 got their second jabs.
Mnangagwa said the global and regional COVID-19 statistics were a cause for concern, particularly new variants that were emerging.
“These grim statistics are ascribed to more virulent variants with the Delta variant being the highly infectious and it spreads exceptionally fast,” Mnangagwa said.
“Global studies show a direct link between the rate of spread of the COVID-19 pandemic on the one hand and those countries and communities with low vaccination rates on the other.
“Our continent of Africa now has more than seven million infection cases with over 177 000 deaths so far. Zimbabwe has recorded over 116 327 cases of infections within 3 900 of our citizens being lost to the pandemic.”
Mnangagwa said COVID-19 cases continued to rise, hence the need for extension of the lockdown period.
“Unfortunately, the numbers of new cases and deaths per day remain unacceptably high, and it is for this reason that the national lockdown level four has to be extended by another two weeks,” he said.
On Sunday, health experts told NewsDay that it would be dangerous for the country to relax the lockdown measures as several countries were already battling the fourth wave of the pandemic.
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