Despite a steep rise in Covid-19 cases, the Government has warned that more cases will be recorded and has urged total adherence to prescribed protocols to give the country a chance of turning the tide against the pandemic.
Zimbabwe yesterday recorded 871 new Covid-19 cases and 15 deaths and all of the new cases were local transmissions.
Authorities anticipate more infections caused partly by irresponsible behaviour of the festive period and say some of those infected are still to show up for screening and treatment.
They say cases recorded in the past few days are infections of the Christmas period and more will start showing in the coming days. However, Government is foreseeing a surge in infections and has since ordered a lockdown, which is aimed at controlling the geographical spread of the pandemic.
Vice chairman of the ad hoc Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on Covid-19 Professor Amon Murwira issued the warning, saying the worst was still to come.
He, however, highlighted that if measures in place to control the spread of the virus were followed, a disaster would be averted.
“We are anticipating the problem but people must not exacerbate the situation by not adhering to the prescribed protocols. More people might have been infected and we are anticipating more positive cases to be recorded.
“It was as a result of strategic planning, strategic intelligence that we anticipated a problem before it actually happened. We introduced the lockdown and it is a strategy to contain the geographical infection,” said Prof Murwira.
“The assumption is that the cases coming up now are the infections of the Christmas period and those ones of the New Year holiday are coming, but we do not expect them to be many because we introduced the lockdown early.
“People now know what needs to be done to protect themselves and slow the spread. We need to stay at home and do things like sanitising, social distancing,” said Prof Murwira.
He said containing movements was the country’s best foot forward in combating the Covid-19 pandemic.
The tightening of the lockdown has been ordered following a spike in infections this week, with 1 365 positive cases and 34 deaths on Tuesday alone.
“Lockdowns are our best foot forward in combating this virus. If we restrict movement, we believe in 30 days those who are infected would have been identified, assisted to recuperate and will not be spreading the virus when they are staying at home.”
“Zimbabwe has been largely successful in terms of compliance. We are doing a team Zimbabwe and as long as we have stopped the virus from circulating we would have succeeded in containing this virus,” he said.
Acting Mpilo Central Hospital chief executive officer Professor Solwayo Ngwenya said there was a problem with adherence which could plunge the country into a crisis.
He concurred with Prof Murwira that the country was expected to record a rise in cases and urged compliance with regulations as the solution.
“It is the beginning of terrible times unless there is drastic change in community attitudes and behaviour. The behaviour of the people and community has allowed the virus to spread and this is the beginning of terrible times ahead unless we change dramatically to stop those infected from infecting others,” said Prof Ngwenya.
The Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care Dr John Mangwiro said the country is now in emergency mode to arrest the pandemic.