By Staff Reporter
Mutare: A local health expert has warned residents to remain on their guard despite the recent easing of the country’s lockdown to phase 2, saying the current winter period demanded more vigilance against a possible heightened spread of Covid-19.
City of Mutare Health Services director, Anthony Mutara said residents should know that Covid-19 was still a menace, hence the need to prepare for worst case scenarios.
Government recently relaxed its national lockdown imposed in March to level 2, allowing businesses in the formal sector to operate.
Since then, the volume of traffic and people has increased in the Central Business Districts (CBD) daily.
“The disease is with us and will do well if start to prepare for any eventuality,” Mutara said during a Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) organised community press club discussion on the impact of Covid-19 in the eastern border city.
Mutara said neighbouring South Africa has in fact made projections for the worst-case scenario within its territory.
At least 40 000 people could die from coronavirus in South Africa by the end of the year, according to projections made by a group of academics and health experts warning their government.
“We are yet to come up with our own model to say in the worst-case scenario, what can happen.
“The factors are we now moving into winter and flu tends to be high in winter by virtue of flu being a winter disease.
“So Covid-19 is a flu like illness. We are into the season where transmission is likely going to be highest as we go into May, June, July, August.
“We should prepare for that and try to minimise the risk of transmission because if we get new cases now, the rate of increase will be higher by virtue of conditions being ideal for the transmission,” said the health director.
He added, “Many are of the opinion that since we are now in Phase 2 of the lockdown, maybe this disease is going away.
“I think we will do well if we look at the worst-case scenario and prepare. If it doesn’t occur, we will say we were ready.
“If we are not ready, we will not be able to cope like we saw in other countries.
“So, our winter is before us, their winter has just passed, ours is coming. We pray that we don’t get into the worst case but it’s better to be prepared than not prepared.”