Spike in Covid-19 cases raises alarm in Zimbabwe

ZIMBABWE has recorded a sharp increase in new Covid-19 cases and deaths with a case fatality rate of 4,9 percent which is the second highest after South Africa in the region.

Over the past five days, the country recorded about 1 639 new Covid-19 cases with a total of 45 deaths up from 209 cases and 12 deaths recorded during the first week of June this year.

The recent surge has seen companies like CABS closing some branches after employees tested positive to the virus.

Institutions of higher learning like Gweru Polytechnic, Kwekwe Polytechnic and Gwanda State University have also recorded Covid-19 cases within their institutions.

Vice-President and Health and Child Care Minister Constantino Chiwenga last week announced lockdown regulations which saw Kwekwe, Chinhoyi, Karoi and Kariba being put on localised lockdown.

The regulations followed the 596 new cases and 26 deaths recorded during the second week of June.

The Ministry has also classified Nkulumane, Emakhandeni and northern suburbs in Bulawayo, Mhondoro, Masvingo District, Chiredzi, Masvingo Province and Bindura as Covid-19 hotspots.

The Ministry’s Situational Report released on Monday shows that 11 of the 13 recorded deaths were from health institutions.

“A total of 1 639 cases were recorded in the past five days up from 209 which were recorded during the first week of June. Since Thursday last week a total of 45 deaths up from 12 which were recorded during the first week,” read the report.

“On Monday 416 new cases were recorded, all locals except for one person who is returnee from South Africa.”
Zimbabwe last recorded over 400 cases on January 21 when the country was on Level 2 lockdown.

CABS temporarily closed its Jason Moyo Branch in Bulawayo and another in Karoi after its staffers tested positive for Covid-19.
The closure of the two branches paves way for the bank to conduct the disinfection exercise.

CABS Jason Moyo Street branch in Bulawayo closed after some staffers tested positive for Covid-19

In a statement, CABS managing director Mr Mehluli Mpofu said the Jason Moyo branch will reopen on Monday.

“We regret to advise that two of our staff tested positive for Covid-19 following PCR tests that were done after exhibiting flu-like symptoms.

The affected branches are Jason Moyo in Bulawayo and Karoi. Both branches are closed to allow for disinfection of the branches, PCR testing and self-isolation of our staff.

“The Jason Moyo branch (Bulawayo) will open for service on 28 June 2021 and Karoi branch will open on 2 July 2021.” said Mr Mpofu. He said clients in Bulawayo should visit the Fife Street Branch while those in Karoi should visit some of its agents.

Mr Mpofu urged clients to adhere to Covid-19 prevention measures.

“The health and safety of our customers and staff is important to us, therefore we urge you to make use of digital channels; internet and mobile banking platforms (*227#/mobile app). We would like to remind you to observe social distancing each time you visit the branch and to adhere to the precautionary measures that have been put in place for your safety,” said Mr Mpofu.

Gwanda State University (GSU), which is based at the Epoch Mine premises in Filabusi, has since been placed under lockdown where learners are not allowed to move out of campus after three students tested positive to the virus.
Spokesperson Mr Walter Ndlovu said the institution continues to intensify testing for its learners and lecturers.

“GSU has made significant strides in the prevention and containment of Covid-19 infections. The university amongst other measures is implementing a robust wellness clinic and tests on a daily basis student and staff temperatures and other symptoms,” he said.

Two students at Gweru Polytechnic and 15 at Kwekwe Polytechnic also tested positive to Covid-19.
Acting Midlands provincial medical director Dr Reginald Mhene confirmed both developments.

“We tested about 1 000 people at Kwekwe Polytechnic and 15 of them, students and members of staff, tested positive. They have since been quarantined and being monitored. Two students at Gweru Polytechnic College tested positive after being tested last week and are asymptomatic,” he said.

He said contact tracing and testing at the two institutions is ongoing.

On Monday Bulawayo recorded 27 new cases and two deaths as the country recorded 416 new infection cases and 13 deaths.

Acting Bulawayo provincial medical director (PMD) Dr Welcome Mlilo said: “The 27 new cases reported yesterday are distributed by place as follows: Emakhandeni District 10, Nkulumane District 9 and Northern Suburbs District 8. One community death and one institutional death.”

Dr Mlilo said most cases have been detected in Nkulumane, Emganwini, Cowdray Park, Nketa, and some Northern Suburbs.
He said the number of institutional admissions in Covid-19 treatment and isolation facilities are rising.

“Covid-19 related mortalities are increasing as well. The province is stepping up its surveillance activities and is working in cohort with the police and other security departments to enhance enforcement of the public health measures meant to contain the transmission. We call upon the public not to be complacent,” he said.

“We are most certainly already in a third wave. Protect yourself and protect others around you. Mask up. Wash your hands and maintain social distancing.”

Meanwhile, the minister in charge of tackling the Covid-19 pandemic in the Midlands Province, Owen Ncube has called upon law enforcement agencies in the province to tighten the localised lockdown in Kwekwe and other parts of the province where cases are on the rise.

Minister Ncube, who is also State Security Minister, made the remarks while addressing an emergency Midlands Provincial Taskforce on Covid-19 meeting held in the mining town recently.

“Government has noted with concern that the people of Kwekwe are not adhering to lockdown regulations let alone covid-19 set guidelines.

“This is by vehicular and human flow into the central business district. We have noted with concern also that people are walking willy-nilly with people not wearing face masks,” said Minister Ncube.

“As such, we are advising all departments to be more vigilant and instruct without fear or favour the directive by Government.” – Chronicle