BY MIRIAM MANGWAYA
NEW COVID-19 infections have declined in the past week across all provinces, except for Harare Metropolitan which still has a high number of cases, a World Health Organisation (WHO) expert has said.
WHO Zimbabwe COVID-19 team leader Lincoln Charimari yesterday urged citizens to comply with COVID-19 protocols as the country was still not out of the woods.
Charimari said this during a media training workshop hosted by the Gender Media Connect Zimbabwe (GMC), which touched on COVID-19 fact-checking.
“Most provinces in Zimbabwe, except Harare, have recorded a steady decline in cases between July 21 and 27, compared to the previous week of July 14 to 20,” he said.
“This, however, should not give us a sense of security as the numbers are still too high. There are three key objectives in COVID-19 response. These include slowing and stopping the transmission, providing care for those who are ill and minimising impact on health systems.”
Statistics released by Charimari stated that 12 447 cases and 531 deaths were recorded between July 22 and 28, 2021.
Cases recorded in the past week declined by 16% from 14 739 recorded between July 14 and 21, 2021.
Harare had a 25,1% increase in new cases, while the rest of the provinces recorded decreases.
Mashonaland Central province recorded a 43% drop in new cases, the highest decline across all the provinces.
Mashonaland East province had the least decrease of 9%, recorded throughout the week.
Charimari said six vaccines had been approved for emergency use listing by WHO to date and countries could choose their preferred vaccines depending on the available cold chain, among other logistics required to keep the vaccines safe.
He discouraged people from taking different COVD-19 vaccine doses.
Zimbabwe has approved five of the WHO-listed vaccines — Sinovac, Sinopharm, Covaxin, Sputnik and Johnson and Johnson — but only four are being used.
Johnson and Johnson is yet to be used.
To date, the country has taken delivery of 6 785 000 doses of Indian Covaxin, Chinese Sinopharm and Sinovac as well as Russia’s Sputnik V vaccines.
Zimbabwe aims to vaccinate 60% of its adult population (approximately 10 million people) by October this year. Vaccines in use in this country are two-shot doses, which means government should procure at least 20 million doses.
But government has indicated that it will only procure 12 million doses.
It said it has already paid for five million more vaccines that would be delivered by September.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday extended COVID-19 level 4 lockdown indefinitely to curb the spread of the virus.
As of yesterday morning, a total of 1 562 285 people had received the first jab, while 713 131 were fully vaccinated.