Zimbabwe Records Over 1000 New COVID-19 Cases

…As country detects new Omicron variant

…Expert warns against Hard Lockdowns

A total 1 042 new local cases of COVID-19 were recorded last night, signalling the arrival of a fourth wave that many public health experts fear could be more devastating compared to previous waves due to the absence of adequate healthcare personal to attend to hospitalisations and severe cases.

By Michael Gwarisa

According to the Ministry of Health and Child Care’s (MoHCC) daily situation report of December, 2 2021, 80 of the new 1042 are cases were detected from learning institutions across the country. The cumulative number of cases of COVID-19 recorded since March 2020 to date is now 136 379 cases, 128 829 recoveries and 4 707 Deaths.
The spike in new cases also comes in the midst of the discovery of a new coronavirus variant, the Omicron strain which according to scientists has multiple mutations and could spread faster than previously experienced variants. The discovery of the Omicron variant in the country, makes Zimbabwe the third country to have recorded the strain in Southern Africa after South Africa and Botswana.

Speaking on national Television, Vice President, Dr Constantino Chiwenga, who is also Zimbabwe’s Health and Child Care Minister confirmed the presence of the Omicron in the country but however did not indicate the number of cases linked to the new coronavirus strain did not indicate the number of cases linked to the new coronavirus strain.

We are now in a particularly dangerous period once again, where the fourth wave is slowly visiting us with the identification of the B.1.1.529 or the Omicron variant of COVID-19,” said Dr Chiwenga.

Speaking on the recent spike in cases, Zimbabwe’s Public Health Expert and Epidemiologist, Dr Grant Murewanhema said people shouldn’t wait to get vaccinated or tested when the hear about new variants or spikes in infections.

“I think we have heard reports of unusual flues around Zimbabwe over the past few weeks and from a clinical point of view that was probably COVID-19 and I believe once we upscale our testing like what seems to be happening, more getting tested will probably be averaging over a 1000 cases per day in the following week, I think we are also most there. I think the things is the COVID-19 going to as bad as it has previously been or it’s going to be much weaker.

“As expected, Zimbabwe has confirmed the presence of the Omicron variant, and that’s not surprising, and no need to panic. Let’s stick to what we have been doing all along. Vaccination numbers have also started going up, but our vaccination shouldn’t be driven by fear (which seems to be the case), but rather by the need to protect ourselves and our communities,” said Dr Grant.

He however urged government not impose hard lockdowns on people but rather encourage people to get vaccinated, adhere to prevention protocols. Speaking on booster doses, Dr Grant said government could consider that and also look into introducing a different vaccine from what people might have received during their first and second jabs.

“People should be encouraged to get vaccinated. A hard lockdown is not necessary but probably there is need to discuss the issue of booster dosses for those willing to get them. I think lets juts boost up even with those Sinopharm vaccines that we are having as you know China has actually encouraged booster dosses and it has even gone to vaccinate children as young as three to 11 years old.”

 

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