Thandeka Moyo-Ndlovu, Health Reporter
ZIMBABWE recorded 300 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, its highest daily figure since the outbreak of the pandemic and health experts have warned that without behaviour change, 2021 could be a worse year.
The Wednesday figure brings the number of active cases to 2 111 and 64 of those were recorded in Manicaland province while 62 were recorded in Bulawayo. Matabeleland South recorded 37 while 34 were recorded in Harare.
The new cases also include 31 recorded in Mashonaland Central, 16 in Masvingo, 11 in Matabeleland North,13 in Mashonaland West and Six in the Midlands province.
The 300 new cases and one death reported on Wednesday should serve as a warning to Zimbabweans that there is urgent need for behaviour change if the country is to avert a disaster.
In an interview, the Co-ordinator of the Covid-19 National Taskforce Dr Agnes Mahomva said the Ministry of Health and Child Care was investigating the 300 cases recorded on Wednesday to trace what could have led to the sudden daily upsurge.
“As we get into 2021 lets us continue to be responsible, I know a lot of us are relaxed in the community and we have stopped washing hands and wearing masks which is critical so that we have a better 2021. Yes, 2020 was tough but let us continue being responsible so that we escape from this pandemic. We are still looking into how and why we recorded 300 new cases in a day but if complacency continues, the daily figure can go up,” she said.
Dr Mahomva said the Government had done its part by mobilising resources, setting up committees and standard operating procedures and what was left was for communities to do their part to curb the spread of the pandemic and prevent new infections.
“At the end of the day we need to be responsible Zimbabweans and do everything that has been prescribed to help us in this fight against Covid-19,” said Dr Mahomva.
Parliamentarian Dr Ruth Labode who is one of the people who recovered from the devastating pandemic, said it was important for Zimbabweans to take the global pandemic seriously as they start 2021.
“Zimbabweans should realise that Covid-19 is now a reality, it could have started in China and Europe but it is clear that it is here. Covid is real. We should remember to put on masks and avoid crowded spaces including parties and churches,” said Dr Labode.
“People should stay at home and pray for themselves and the country. I know that we once adhered to set measures in March, we should continue to respect Covid-19 because it affects even us as doctors and politicians,” she said.
Health expert Professor Solwayo Ngwenya said the new year is likely to be worse if people do not strictly adhere to Covid-19 preventative measures.
“Covid-19 has been quite a life changing experience for all of us because we learnt that life can be too short as we lost our loved ones to the pandemic,” said Prof Ngwenya.
He said besides claiming many lives, the pandemic disrupted economic activities thereby adversely affecting the people’s lives.
“The virus is mutating, it keeps changing and we are at a risk of dying in bigger numbers compared to 2020 hence we need to be sober and change our behaviour,” said Prof Ngwenya.
President Mnangagwa has declared Covid-19 a national disaster and the Government complemented by partners is directing massive resources towards fighting the pandemic.
To date 13 625 cases have been recorded while 11 154 have recovered and 360 have succumbed to the pandemic.
The infected include frontline health workers who have been tirelessly working flat out to flatten the Covid-19 curve.
The 325 620 Covid-19 tests conducted so far comprise of 214 751 (Rapid Diagnostic test) RDT and 110 869 (Polymerase Chain Reaction).
Covid-19 manifestation however, has been changing since the country recorded its first case as initial cases were mainly reported from individuals with a travel history.
After a few weeks, Covid-19 cases started being concentrated at quarantine centres accommodating returning residents mainly from South Africa, Botswana and Mozambique.
In July, the country witnessed a dramatic change as it started recording an increase in local transmissions which were partly attributed to positive individuals escaping from quarantine centres and other people knowingly or unknowingly spreading the virus by not taking preventive measures such as self-isolation.
Workplaces, hospitals and prisons have become Covid-19 epicentres, a disturbing trend given that most victims at hospitals and prisons are the Covid-19 frontliners while productive workers at the different companies who are supposed to produce for the nation are under threat.
One of the nurses, Sister Pretty Mpala (36) from Emakhandeni suburb in Bulawayo unfortunately succumbed to Covid-19.
School going children were not spared from the disaster as the reopening of schools on September 14 left more than 333 pupils infected.
The bulk of those were from one of Zimbabwe’s top schools, John Tallach in Ntabazinduna Matabeleland North where 185 pupils tested positive. @thamamoe.