Health authorities on high alert as Covid-19 fifth wave sweeps SA

Source: Health authorities on high alert as Covid-19 fifth wave sweeps SA | Herald (Top Stories)

Dr Mahomva

Rumbidzayi Zinyuke Senior Reporter

The rise in the number of new Covid-19 cases recorded in the last week is not an indication that Zimbabwe has entered a fifth wave of infection but is largely just the breakers from the increase in cases reported in South Africa.

National Covid-19 response coordinator Dr Agnes Mahomva said Zimbabwe remained on high alert while observing the trend in new infections and Zimbabweans were urged to get vaccinated, wear masks, practise social distancing and be careful in crowds.

“When you are in an epidemic, cases tend to fluctuate and this is what has been happening. This (last) week you saw cases going up slightly but the week before they went down. This does not mean we are in another wave. 

“The rise can be attributed to an increase in cases reported in South Africa, where authorities have confirmed that they are now in the fifth wave. Whenever SA gets a spike in cases, it is not unusual for Zimbabwe to also record a rise. So we are observing the trends,” she said.

The number of new daily infections in Zimbabwe edged up most days last week but moved down again at the weekend.

Dr Mahomva said the Government and its partners had learnt lessons from the previous waves and was prepared for the eventuality of a fifth wave.

The fourth wave of infections hit Zimbabwe in November last year driven by the Omicron variant, which was the fastest spreading variant of concern.

Zimbabwe’s proximity and interaction with South Africa increase the chances of a corresponding increase in cases should the surge continue. 

With the winter season approaching, there is a possibility of an increase in Covid-19 cases. The current wave in SA has been driven by the sub-variants of the Omicron, BA.4, and BA.5.

Dr Mahomva said it was essential to maintain the existing Covid-19  in conflict situations, the list goes on.

Health authorities on high alert as Covid-19 fifth wave sweeps SA protocols to ensure the country does not experience a worse wave than the previous ones.

“We should continue social distancing, wearing masks and above all, we are pushing vaccination. We are currently rolling out the second blitz in schools, and in communities and we continue to encourage people to get vaccinated especially those with underlying conditions and the elderly. If we do get into another wave these are the people who will be at the highest risk of severe illness and death,” she added.

She said the cases of Covid-19 being reported in schools reflected the infection within communities.

“Our schools have a strong surveillance system and this is why we are recording these numbers in schools. Remember these children are the same people who will be in the communities when they are not in school. It is nothing to worry about but it is everything to say we should remain vigilant,” said Dr Mahomva.

The country recorded 56 new cases on Sunday, a drop from the 188 on Friday and 165 cases reported on Thursday.

The country has recorded 249 262 positive cases, with 242 500 recoveries and 5 483 deaths.

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