The recent spike in Covid-19 cases is very worrying and calls for a complete change in behaviour. The country had by yesterday confirmed 885 Covid-19 cases, 206 recoveries and nine deaths.
On Tuesday the country recorded 53 new cases and the figure jumped to 98 on Wednesday. The country recorded more local transmissions compared to imported ones for the first time on Tuesday. Most of the people that have been testing positive for Covid-19 were returning Zimbabweans from countries such as South Africa, Botswana, the United Kingdom and US.
The new disturbing trend is that the country is now witnessing a sharp increase in local transmissions which makes contact tracing very difficult. The failure to trace contacts results in the virus spreading unchecked hence the need for citizens to strictly adhere to Covid-19 health protocols to minimise the spread of the pandemic.
What is more worrying is that the country is witnessing a sharp increase in Covid-19 cases when it is preparing to open schools at the end of this month.
The Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on Covid-19 led by Vice President Kembo Mohadi needs to assess the situation and recommend the response to this sudden jump in cases. There might be a need to tighten some of the Covid-19 regulations as well as step up Covid-19 prevention measures especially at hospitals which have become hot spots for Covid-19 transmissions.
A total of 18 health workers at the United Bulawayo Hospitals recently tested positive for Covid-19 after they allegedly attended to an infected patient. What is clear is that the health workers do not have adequate personal protective equipment (PPE).
The hospital has also not put in place adequate measures to prevent patient to health worker transmission. On Wednesday we reported that 10 returnees, two of them Covid-19 positive, escaped from quarantine centres and that 857 kombis had been impounded for defying lockdown regulations.
The increase in Covid-19 cases can only be contained by among other measures, restricting movement, tightening security at quarantine centres, observing social distancing and other health protocols especially at public places and workstations.
We have repeatedly said developing countries like Zimbabwe should avoid a situation whereby they are overwhelmed by Covid-19 patients given our limited resources. Prevention and curbing the spread of the virus is our only salvation hence the need to take all measures necessary to prevent infection. Those infected have an obligation to protect others by self-isolating.
We want to once again implore Government to urgently review the Covid-19 regulations and where necessary tighten until this winter spike is contained.