COVID-19 cases are gradually increasing in the country with statistics indicating that nine people succumbed to the disease during the past week.
This comes amid calls for the media to revive the Covid-19 story by keeping members of the public alert and aware of the dangers arising from complacency.
Statistics from the Ministry of Health and Child Care show that during the first week of January, the seven-day rolling average for new cases stood at 45.
The figure rose to 52 during the second week and as of yesterday, the number had shot to 118.
A total of 123 new cases were also reported on Wednesday.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020, Zimbabwe has recorded 261 952 cases including 255 084 recoveries and 5 656 deaths.
Deputy Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr John Mangwiro urged citizens to get vaccinated as a way of curbing the spread of the virus.
He said the country has enough vaccines for all eligible citizens and urged people to heed the Government’s call.
“We are seeing an increase in Covid-19 cases and this is a result of merry-making, travelling and laxity, particularly during the festive season. As Government, our message hasn’t changed, we continue to urge people to get vaccinated as that is the only effective way to safeguard ourselves from this pandemic,” said Dr Mangwiro.
He said citizens should be vigilant and adhere to the health regulations by washing hands, masking up and practising social distancing to prevent spreading or contracting the pandemic.
Speaking during a media training workshop in Bulawayo yesterday, media mentor Mr Thandolwenkosi Nkomo said stories related to Covid-19 have been missing for months and attributed the rise in cases to members of the public’s laxity.
“Coverage of Covid-19 remains key and as journalists we have to tell the story as long as we still record new cases and deaths. The global pandemic also brought a lot of positive and negative changes which we must diligently report on so that our communities are equipped with relevant information on variants, vaccines and trends,” he said.
Mr Nkomo said it is also the duty of the media to keep the public well-informed about new variants, some of which have been detected in neighbouring countries.
Briefing the media on Wednesday, the World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus said since the beginning of December last year, the number of weekly reported Covid-19-related deaths has been increasing.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu
He noted that in the past eight weeks, more than 170 000 people have died of Covid-19.
“My message is clear. Do not underestimate this virus, it has and will continue to surprise us and it will continue to kill unless we do more to get health tools to people that need them and to comprehensively tackle misinformation,” said Dr Ghebreyesus.
He said WHO’s highest level of alert, the Emergency Committee on Covid-19 will this week meet to discuss whether the present situation still constitutes a global emergency.
“While I will not pre-empt the advice of the Emergency Committee, I remain very concerned by the situation in many countries and the rising number of deaths,” said Dr Ghebreyesus.
He said surveillance and genetic sequencing have declined dramatically, making it more difficult to track known variants and detect new ones.
“While we are clearly in a better shape than three years ago when this pandemic first hit, the global collective response is once again under strain. Too few people – especially older people and health workers – are adequately vaccinated,” he said.
“There is a torrent of pseudo-science and misinformation circulating, which is undermining trust in safe and effective tools for Covid-19.”