Covid-19 cases on the peak

Albert Chavhunduka

Cabinet recently advised that the country should remain vigilant and avoid any further relaxation of its Covid-19 restrictions and urged all provinces to prioritise Phase Two of the vaccination campaign blitz as the overall number of cases continues to increase in the country.

In March, Zimbabwe launched a vaccination campaign drive which included the jabbing of children from the age of 12 to help tackle the problem of vaccine hesitancy and complacency.

During last week’s 11th post-Cabinet press briefing, Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care Constantino Chiwenga presented the considerations by Cabinet on Zimbabwe’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and report on the procurement and roll-out of vaccines.

Chiwenga said the country had recorded a surge in Covid-19 positive cases and urged the need to protect the country from further negative impact as a result of the rise in cases.

“Cabinet wishes to inform the nation that as at 3rd of May 2022, Zimbabwe’s cumulative Covid-19 positive cases had reached 247 990, with 241 861 recoveries and 5 479 deaths. The recovery rate was 98 percent with 740 active cases having been recorded. The overall number of new cases increased during the week, with 437 cases recorded, compared to 276 the previous week and reflecting a 58 percent increase,” said Chiwenga.

“An average of 63 new cases were reported per day, compared to 40 the previous week. The country’s Covid-19 hospital bed occupancy rate increased slightly from 1.0 percent to 1.6 percent, with no Intensive Care Unit admissions countrywide.

“In conclusion, Cabinet advises that in light of the 58 percent increase in the number of new cases the country recorded during the current week, coupled with a massive increase in the number of cases recorded by our neighbour South Africa the last seven days. There is need to protect the country against the negative impact of a surge in cases.”

Minister Chiwenga further made a number of recommendations that the country needed  to consider following the latest cautionary measures.

“There is need to avoid further relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions for now and remain vigilant. All provinces must prioritise Phase two of the Vaccination Campaign blitz scheduled to kick off on 3rd May 2022. Risk Communication and Community Engagement be strengthened with a focus on adherence to all prevention measures and that there be strict enforcement of all Covid-19 regulations throughout the country including at the ports of entry,” said Chiwenga.

Chiwenga however noted that the Covid-19 Vaccination Programme which began last month recorded progress and that he was working together with Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution to strengthen communication in encouraging people to get vaccinated.

“On the National Covid-19 Vaccination Programme, Cabinet is informing the nation that remarkable progress has been witnessed since the launch of the campaign a month ago, with over two million vaccine doses already administered. Preparations for phase two of the national vaccination campaign blitz continued during the week. Ministers of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution are strengthening communication on the need for all eligible people, including religious leaders and their followers to get vaccinated,” he said.

According to the Ministry of Health and Child Care, to date, the cumulative numbers of vaccinations since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020 have now reached 5 869 893 and 3 683 973 for the first and second dose respectively and 604 860 for the third dose.

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