Complacency triggers COVID-19 resurgence

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BY METHEMBE SIBANDA
THE World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned of a surge in COVID-19 cases worldwide due to complacency.

In a statement yesterday, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “I am concerned that cases of COVID-19 continue to rise, putting further pressure on already stretched health systems and health workers. I am also concerned about the increasing trend of deaths. The Emergency Committee on COVID-19 met on Friday last week and concluded that the virus remains a public health emergency of international concern.”

WHO said sub-variants of Omicron, like BA.4 and BA.5 continue to drive a wave of new cases, hospitalisation and deaths around the world.

“Second, surveillance has reduced significantly including testing and sequencing, making it increasingly difficult to assess the impact of variants on transmission, disease characteristics, and the effectiveness of counter-measures. Third, diagnostics, treatments and vaccines are not being deployed effectively. The virus is running freely and countries are not effectively managing the disease burden based on their capacity, in terms of both hospitalisations for acute cases and the expanding number of people with the post-COVID-19 condition, often referred to as long COVID,” he said.

Ghebreyesus said there was a major disconnect in COVID-19 risk perceptions between scientific communities, political leaders and the general public.

“New waves of the virus demonstrate again that COVID-19 is nowhere near over. As the virus pushes at us, we must push back. We are in a much better position than at the beginning of the pandemic. Of course, there’s been a lot of progress. We have safe and effective tools that prevent infections, hospitalisations and deaths. However, we should not take them for granted,” he added.

Medical and Dental Private Practitioners of Zimbabwe Association president Johannes Marisa said: “For now, Zimbabwe is safe in terms of mortality and morbidity. We are recording a few cases lately coupled with few deaths. We hope to maintain this situation.”

To date, over 562 million cases of COVID-19, including at least 6,37 million deaths, have been recorded globally since the pandemic hit the world in late 2019.

In Zimbabwe, 256 000 cases including 5566 deaths have so far been recorded.

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