The Sunday News
THE country has in recent weeks experienced an upsurge in the number of Covid-19 local transmissions.
On Tuesday last week, 34 local transmissions were recorded on that day alone and another high figure recorded on a single day was 36 on Thursday.
Local transmission refers to locally acquired cases, where people are infected with coronavirus while in their surroundings without having travelled outside the country.
In most cases, local transmissions occur at home, work, social gatherings and in public transport, among other places.
Last month, 14 nurses from Mpilo Central Hospital tested positive to Covid-19, and last week, 18 workers from United Bulawayo Hospitals also tested positive.
All these are part of the local transmissions and these workers reportedly got into contact with the virus while at work.
While the majority of the cases that the country has recorded are imported cases, mostly from South Africa and Botswana, there has been an increase in recent weeks of the number of local transmissions, which therefore calls for serious introspection among Zimbabweans.
The truth of the matter is that the virus does not have legs to move from one place to another, but it is “transported” by those who already have it, and they then spread it wherever they go. It is therefore important that people adhere to safety precautions so as to halt the upsurge in local transmissions.
“The upsurge is a sign that people are mixing up and anyone with Covid-19 virus infection has a possibility of transmitting the same to other people. This is where we are saying let’s remain committed to what the President (Emmerson Mnangagwa) has pronounced, let’s stay at home because staying at home means you are avoiding contact with those people who are infected,” said Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care Dr John Mangwiro.
Dr Mangwiro told out sister paper, The Sunday Mail that the upsurge points to the mixing of people who have been local with those coming from other countries.
“We must keep on washing our hands because our hands can take the virus from point A to point B and people get infected. We must continue to put on our face masks correctly and not to put the mask on the chin and leave your mouth open. It’s a sign that people who are coming from outside especially from South Africa, people are mixing rather than keeping each other safe, we really need to take more care, need to really emphasise on our safety,” said Dr Mangwiro.
Experts have attributed the rise in local transmissions to failure by people to adhere to Level 2 lockdown measures and the increased mingling of locals and returnees over the past few weeks. Issues of sanitation and hygiene, and the fact that the country is currently in the influenza (cold) season, have also been highlighted as worsening the situation.
A research organisation said online; “Because Covid-19 is highly transmissible and can be spread by people who do not know they have the disease, risk of transmission within a community can be difficult to determine. Until broad-scale testing is widely implemented or we have a more comprehensive and precise measure of disease burden, countries and communities should assume some community transmission or spread is occurring. Individuals need to follow healthy hygiene practices, stay at home when sick, practice physical distancing to lower the risk of disease spread, and use a face mask. These universal precautions are appropriate regardless of the extent of mitigation needed.”
The ball is in our courts. We have to come up with mitigation strategies to combat local transmissions.
Each locality has to play ball and come up with further measures that are best suited for its own environment and business activities.