Mutare province has recorded its first positive cases of Coronavirus, according to results released by the Ministry of Health and Childcare with nine people who returned from Mozambique testing positive for the virus.
All the seventeen (17) new cases recorded yesterday are from returnees quarantined at various facilities across the country, bringing the cumulative number of confirmed cases up to 149, recovered 28, active cases, 117 and 4 deaths said Ministry of Health.
The latest results bring into sharp focus warning by medical experts that as winter approaches Covid-19 would be a menace, hence the need to prepare for worst case scenarios, where the country should brace for a spike in positive cases.
Mutare City Council director of health services Dr Antony Mutara recently raised reservations over the relaxing of lockdown rules to stage two saying the current winter period demanded more vigilance against a possible heightened spread of Covid-19.
Dr Mutara said residents should know Zimbabwe has not made any projections of its worst case scenario, like neighboring South Africa which projects that at least 40 000 people could die from coronavirus, according academics and health experts.
However despite the lack of such projections government recently relaxed its national lockdown imposed in March to level 2, allowing businesses in the formal sector to operate, since then, the volume of traffic and people has increased in the Central Business Districts (CBD) daily.
“The disease is with us and will do well if start to prepare for any eventuality,” Dr Mutara said during a Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) organized community press club discussion on the impact of Covid-19 in the eastern border city.
“We are yet to come up with our own model to say in the worst-case scenario, what can happen, the factors are we now moving into winter and flu tends to be high in winter by virtue of flu being a winter disease.
“So Covid-19 is a flu like illness. We are into the season where transmission is likely going to be highest as we go into May, June, July, August.
“We should prepare for that and try to minimize the risk of transmission because if we get new cases now, the rate of increase will be higher by virtue of conditions being ideal for the transmission,” said the health director.
He added, “Many are of the opinion that since we are now in Phase 2 of the lockdown, maybe this disease is going away. I think we will do well if we look at the worst-case scenario and prepare. If it doesn’t occur, we will say we were ready.
“If we are not ready, we will not be able to cope like we saw in other countries.”