All hands on deck

Government on Saturday introduced new measures to contain the spread of Covid-19 amid rising cases and deaths.

Some of the measures include the banning of all gatherings, except funerals which have been limited to 30 people, identification of hotspots and localised lockdowns and the toughened stance on travellers coming from hotspot countries.

The Ministry of Health and Child Care reduced business working hours by an hour and urged companies to cut their numbers at the workplace at any given time by half.

Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who is also Health Minister

These measures, in addition to increased vaccination, are meant to reduce the number of new cases and deaths.

This month alone, the number of new cases has been on the rise jolting the government into action. The 7-day rolling average for new cases rose to 142 on Tuesday from 41 on June 1.

There are localised lockdowns in Kwekwe, Karoi and Kariba.

The Ministry has also designated Mhangura, Chiredzi, Masvingo District, Nkulumane, Emakhandeni, Northern Suburbs and Mount Darwin as hotspots, an indication that the threat is still with us.

There are fears the worst if yet to come if citizens disregard the measures by the Ministry of Health and Child Care.

However, there is a recurring trend: during the lockdown in January, the government accused citizens of throwing away the reins. Vice President and Health Minister Constantino Chiwenga on Saturday said there has been a general complacency in adhering to the preventive measures both in the communities and work places.

It is not the first time Zimbabwe has come up with such measures: it has come up with far worse restrictions—early this year and during the first lockdown last year.

The pains of adjustment resulted in a decline in new cases and deaths.

It is not only in Zimbabwe where the number of new cases is rising. In South Africa, the number of new cases is on the rise with President Cyril Ramaphosa warning on Tuesday that the country had recorded an average of 7,500 daily infections in the last seven days. He said the average number of people who die from Covid-19 each day has increased nearly half to 791 in the past 7 days from 535 two weeks ago.

Across Europe and in the United States, the story is the same as they battle rising new infections.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson delayed by a month the removal of the remaining Covid-19 restrictions amid the rapid spread of the more infectious Delta variant. The restrictions were supposed to be removed next week. In the case of Zimbabwe, the government on its own, cannot contain the cases. Citizens have to adhere to the Covid-19 measures: proper wearing of face masks, sanitise and practise social distancing. The government has to scale up the vaccination drive. The programme was held back by the shortage of the vaccine. The arrival of the Sputnik V doses from Russia and the expected arrival of 500,000 doses is a fillip to the vaccination exercise.

We are living in extraordinary times. It requires all hands on deck.

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