The World Health Organization (WHO) has endorsed the latest measures put in place by Zimbabwe to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic following a spike in new infections recorded in the past week.
Speaking to a local publication, WHO Country Representative to Zimbabwe Dr Alex Gasasira said the latest measures were in line with WHO recommendations.
“It is necessary for governments to carefully review local evidence of levels of Covid-19 transmission and assess when additional restrictions are required to prevent the health system from being overwhelmed.
“This is critical to prevent a very high death rate due to Covid-19. We have seen in other countries in our region and beyond, cases rising and overwhelming the health systems. The new measures announced by the government will help to mitigate against such a situation in the country.”
WHO warned citizens against lowering the guard against mitigatory initiatives particularly at a time Zimbabwe appears to be winning the battle.
Dr Gasasira urged everyone to play their part and comply with measures to reduce risk of exposure and infection with Covid-19.
“The longer a patient goes without treatment, the lower their chances of survival, and the longer the virus can spread unseen in communities,” said Dr Gasasira.
On Saturday Vice President Constantino Chiwenga announced new lockdown measures including a ban on public gatherings except for funerals which are allowed only 30 people.
The major changes include one hour reduction in the maximum number of working hours to 8am to 6pm, duty staff on the premises in non-essential enterprises to be at half level, all meetings and workshops to be virtual, restaurants only allowed to serve take-aways, and bottle store hours chopped to 10am to 4pm, with owners responsible for stopping customers drinking in or around the premises.
New cases have risen to 708 in the last seven days, a worrying trend which if left unchecked, would compromise Zimbabwe’s response to the infection.
As of yesterday, Zimbabwe had 1 323 active cases, Harare leading with 450 and Mashonaland West in second place with 267 cases.