The early successes in the fight against Covid-19 should not be mistaken for a total victory against the global pandemic as its threat continues to hover perilously.
Complacency has been creeping into society, with people disregarding Covid-19 mitigatory measures after the World Health Organisation (WHO) commended the Government for the way it has managed to contain the spread of the pandemic.
Vice President Dr Constantino Chiwenga yesterday warned that cases of the pandemic could easily rise if people stopped adhering to laid down protocols.
To date, more than 8 000 people have tested positive, and over 94 percent have recovered. Less than 3 percent died after testing positive for Covid-19.
Speaking at the official launch of the 2020 joint commemorations of the Global Hand Washing Day, National Sanitisation Week, World Toilet Day and Wash Finance Week, VP Chiwenga, who is also the Minister of Health and Child Care, said Zimbabwe was not yet out of the woods and implored people to continue wearing masks properly in public places.
“This disease or virus as we know it, kills,” he said. “It has no age, no status and it destroys. Please carry the message to your colleagues, friends and families that let us all be on guard.
“Most countries are trying to come up with a vaccine, but the truth is that we do not have a vaccine as yet. But even if we had one, let us have this culture of always staying clean, looking after ourselves for any other kind of disease.
“Let us all follow the instructions that are being given by our health workers. Let’s all be guided by the World Health Organisation guidelines.”
VP Chiwenga said handwashing was one of the key solutions in combating the spread of Covid-19.
“It complements other strategies like lockdowns, restrictive movements, hand sanitising, social distancing, mandatory quarantine and isolation facilities, among other interventions our country has employed to control Covid-19, which has been declared a public health emergency of international concern,” he said. It is, therefore, against this background that hand hygiene is the most important infection prevention and control intervention in rescuing Zimbabwe and other nations from the Covid-19 pandemic.”
VP Chiwenga thanked the Government, Zimbabweans, partners and the international community for their positive attitudes and practices in the on-going efforts to combat the Covid-19 pestilence.
Speaking at the same function, WHO country representative Dr Alex Gasasira commended the Government of Zimbabwe for the way it responded to the pandemic.
“As you all know, this commemoration is taking place at a time the world is dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said. “I would like to applaud the Government of Zimbabwe for the very strong response to the pandemic.
“We are encouraged by the strong leadership of Government, the contribution of the community and all stakeholders who have really tried to do their best to comply with the recommendations.”
Dr Gasasira said a lot of good work had been done in the country’s response and reiterated VP Chiwenga’s call for people not to loosen their guard.
Some countries have been hit hard by a second wave of the pandemic, but Dr Gasasira said if Zimbabwe continued adhering to guidelines, the country would pull through and continue to be safe.
Minister of Finance and Economic Development Professor Mthuli Ncube was at the event and committed to give the fiscal support needed in improving sanitation.