MPILO Central Hospital acting chief executive Solwayo Ngwenya has warned of an imminent advent of a more dangerous Covid-19 third wave coupled with deadly variants, which would result in an unprecedented spike in fatalities.
The health expert said the possible cause of the third wave was the need to make money for a living, which was forcing citizens to disregard set Covid-19 regulations and engage in various activities, thereby, risking getting infected.
The government earlier this month relaxed the lockdown measures and allowed most businesses to reopen under less strict regulations, following a decrease in the number of new infections and deaths.
Situational reports on Covid-19 released by the Health Ministry in recent weeks show there is a daily increase in new infections, although the number of deaths remain low.
“Coronavirus: back to the same pattern again! Bulawayo starts with a high positivity rate of 19.5%,” Ngwenya said Friday.
“Unfortunately, the third wave with the new variants will be unforgiving. This time, things will erupt suddenly, and catastrophically. Stay at home if you can, it could save your life.”
Information secretary Nick Mangwana also warned of the third wave and urged citizens to get vaccinated to protect themselves against getting infected.
Vaccination against Covid-19 began mid-last month, with the first priority given to frontline workers but health experts have expressed concern over low uptake of the jab. Only about 36% of the targeted 100 000 beneficiaries of the donated Sinopharm vaccine doses had been inoculated by this last week.
“New cases have risen again. Appetite for vaccine could be better. There is a new surge of infection and deaths in Brazil. A third wave in Zimbabwe is not beyond reality. We can never forget the grim picture of three coffins lining up at the National Shrine. Let’s not be complacent,” said Mangwana referring to the burial of three national heroes, Foreign Affairs Minister Sibusiso Moyo, Transport Minister Joel Biggie Matiza and former prisons boss Paradzai Zimondi.
The three succumbed to Covid-19 in January.
Announcing the relaxed Covid-19 regulations early this month, President Emmerson Mnangagwa urged the citizens to continue abiding by the World Health Organisation (WHO) protocols to avoid a further spike in new infections.
However, according to Ngwenya, “Unfortunately, the economy needs dollars, and the people like to be out meeting, mingling, mixing, and dancing, beer bottles in their hands. Prevent being infected, follow Covid-19 regulations religiously.”