Gvt fears Covid could spike as winter approaches

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By James Muonwa

CABINET has warned the impending winter season, the upcoming Easter and independence day holidays which are characterised by travelling and large gatherings, could result in a spike in new coronavirus infections in the country.

Presenting the post-Cabinet briefing in Harare Tuesday, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa told journalists Cabinet received an update on the country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic from Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who is also Health and Child Care minister.

She said the cold winter season was likely to spawn new Covid-19 infections as traditionally this is the period people suffer colds and flu, while the holidays present an opportunity for citizens to travel to different parts of the country.

Mutsvangwa said: “The nation is being advised to remain vigilant as winter is fast approaching and the country readies for the Easter and Independence holidays. Accordingly, all citizens are urged to continue adhering to the laid down World Health Organisation (WHO) protocols at all times.”

There is general laxity among the population in wearing face masks, hand sanitizing and social distancing, despite cases being on the rebound and reports of a new Covid-19 variant detected in neighbouring Botswana.

Mutsvangwa advised that as at 11 April, 2022, the country’s cumulative Covid-19 cases stood at 247 010, with 240 496 recoveries and 5 460 deaths.

“The recovery rate was 97%, with 1 054 active cases being recorded. Regarding case management, infection prevention and control, the number of people in need of hospitalisation for Covid-19 decreased, receding from 1.5% during last week to 0.9% this week.”

On the national vaccination programme, as of 11 April, 2022, a total of 5 730 327 first doses have been administered, with 3 597 602 people having received their second dose and 539 837 their third dose of the vaccine, she added.

The national coverage of the first dose vaccination is now 51%.