ZIMBABWE is not out of the woods insofar as COVID-19 is concerned with complacency likely going to plunge the nation into a painful fourth wave, an AIDS Health Foundation Zimbabwe (AHF) official said.
This comes amid fears of the beckoning fourth wave this year.
Public health experts and activists state the fourth wave is brewing.
With restrictions having been relaxed in Zimbabwe resulting in bars allowed to sell alcohol, it appears many people have thrown all caution in the wind.
Speaking with journalists on the sidelines of an AHF breakfast meeting, the organisation’s Country Programme Director Dr Enerst Chikwayi said Zimbabwe is not out of the Covid redzone.
“We are not out of danger at all. If anything its getting worse because we are relaxed because of the numbers. Now we are saying the numbers have gone down but the numbers can go up anytime,” he said.
He also said last year’s trajectory of COVID cases should be a learning curve.
” If you look at what happened last year, the numbers had gone down October…November but suddenly in December, the numbers went up. What caused that? People relaxed. People were in holiday mood. Some of us even booked holidays but fortunaltely some of us cancelled them because we saw the wave was already starting to peak.
” What happened last year was there was the opening of the border especially South Africa. So South Africa was already having a peak during that time in December. So when we opened the borders that time, cases started increasing in Zimbabwe. I think somewhere somehow we were supposed to quickly close off before the holidays. You saw the New Year’s eve some of the gigs which happened. People had no masks and everything. So that is how we create those waves,” he explained.
He said it is important to continue holding the fort to prepare the nation against another wave.
“What is important is to keep our guard up all the time. COVID is still here. It is still with us.
If we dont take care, we will get the fourth wave. I think people are relaxed. Thats why with this breakfast meeting to continue drilling the message of getting people vaccinated so that they get protected,” he said noting that, “As long as there is no herd immunity, there will be another wave. How it starts is a different story. It might be an issue of people coming in. Remember the third wave was coming from India with the Indian variant and it started spreading. So we dont know when it will be coming but definitely it will be coming.”