Thandeka Moyo-Ndlovu, Health Reporter
DISTRIBUTION of Covid-19 cases among the 25 most affected suburbs in Bulawayo shows that the virus is most prevalent in western suburbs but the city centre remains the hardest hit.

The country has 264 active Covid-19 cases, with the bulk, 123 of them in Bulawayo.

A total of 52 people succumbed to the global pandemic in the province and 18 of the deaths were recorded in the last two weeks.

According to the Ministry of Health and Child Care, five more deaths were reported on Monday in Zimbabwe and three of the people died in Bulawayo.

On Sunday one death was recorded in Bulawayo, the only Covid-19 related death in the country on that day.

Last week on Wednesday, three deaths were recorded in Zimbabwe, all from Bulawayo and the province also accounted for 18 of the 28 new cases recorded on that day.

According to the weekly council log sheet, of the top 25 affected suburbs, Entumbane and Nkulumane recorded the highest number of deaths.

The two suburbs account for three deaths each followed by the city centre, Mpopoma and Emhlangeni which each recorded two Covid-19 deaths.

Of the total active Covid-19 cases in Bulawayo, 27 are within the city centre, seven in Mpopoma and three in Entumbane.

Cowdray Park, Magwegwe, Njube, Bradfield and Emakhandeni suburbs were also listed as part of the top 10 Covid-19 hotspots in Bulawayo with two active cases recorded in each of the suburbs.

Other affected suburbs include Ilanda which recorded one death, Barbourfields, Emganwini, Lobengula, Mzilikazi, Nketa, Hillside and Montrose which all have one of Bulawayo’s active cases.

According to council, Mahatshula, Trenance, Nguboyenja, North End, Luveve, Thorngrove and Pumula suburbs are also part of the 25 hotspots with single active Covid-19 cases.

In response to questions, director of health services Dr Edwin Sibanda said there is general relaxation when it comes to following health guidelines.

“The apparent upsurge in the numbers of Bulawayo Covid-19 cases is twofold and is a result of rapid response teams following up contacts of positive cases and testing them according to protocol. There has been a relaxation in terms of observing prevention measures, gatherings have started such as parties’ and funeral wakes among others and this is likely to lead to many new cases,” said Dr Sibanda.

Acting Mpilo Central Hospital chief executive officer Professor Solwayo Ngwenya said the three deaths recorded in Zimbabwe on Monday were from the health institution.

He said some of the people were dying while awaiting results which shows that Covid-19 has spread in the community.

“We are seeing people being brought in dead while some die in hospital awaiting tests and this is quite a worrying trend. My biggest fear is many people could be infected in the community and unaware and this is an indication that Covid-19 is spreading at home yet people are so relaxed,” said Prof Ngwenya.

According to him Covid-19 has a potential to wipe thousands just like the Spanish Flu of 1918 which killed many when people thought it had been eradicated.

“If you look at current statistics or even in the past week or two, we seemed not to have any Covid-19 in the city, and this is what usually happens with a virus. It spreads when people are relaxed and then suddenly affects a large number of people,” said Prof Ngwenya.

“In fact, Bulawayo has had this sudden rise and soon it will be an epicentre of the virus if we are not careful. This is not surprising because the new cases and deaths are slowly going up.

“We need to change our behaviour in terms of frequenting closed spaces as they often lead to the transmission of the deadly virus. People must remember that Covid-19 can be transmitted even through the sharing of drinks and food hence the need for extreme caution to be taken all the time.”

According to Prof Ngwenya, people should adhere to the set guidelines and avoid crowding for whatever reason so that they do not find themselves in need of medication.

“The first lockdown in March really helped in flattening the curve but because we now have ‘veterans’ who think they have survived the first wave, we may see more cases and deaths than before,” he said.- @thamamoe