Zimbabwean VP warns of second wave of COVID-19

HARARE, ZIMBABWE - APRIL 3: Deserted streets are seen as part of coronavirus (COVID-19) measures in Harare, Zimbabwe on April 3, 2020. (Photo by Wilfred Kajese/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
HARARE, ZIMBABWE – APRIL 3: Deserted streets are seen as part of coronavirus (COVID-19) measures in Harare, Zimbabwe on April 3, 2020. (Photo by Wilfred Kajese/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Zimbabwe Vice President Constantino Chiwenga has warned of a possible second wave of COVID-19 sweeping across the country as citizens continue to get less wary of the pandemic.

Chiwenga, who is also the Minister of Health and Child Care, said ignorance, denial and wishful thinking could lead to more deaths, the Herald newspaper reported Saturday.

The paper reported that Chiwenga, who was addressing a gathering in Bulawayo on Friday, said he was concerned that many people were no longer adhering to prevention measures at a time when the world was facing a second wave of COVID-19.

Figures of new infections have been going up lately, while many citizens have relaxed and are no longer following preventive procedures.

Zimbabwe recorded 69 new infections and two deaths on Friday, bringing the totals to 8,765 infections and 257 deaths since the first infection that was reported in the country on March 20.

Chiwenga said the pandemic had adversely affected socio-economic development and required collective efforts to combat it.

“The worrying trend emerging in America and Europe, where a second wave of the pandemic was feared, serves as a warning for African countries and particularly so Zimbabwe, to maintain the prevailing anti-COVID-19 measures,” he said.

Chiwenga said while the national taskforce and frontline workers were educating the public on the threats posed by the pandemic, he was worried that communities were no longer heeding their calls.

“Despite the manageable casualty toll to date by Zimbabwe, the persistence and progression of the threat require our citizenry to remain alert,” he said.

“It is unfortunate though, that some of the people, in their own wisdom, (have) decided to engage a relaxed mode,” he added.

He said it had become a common feature to catch sight of some of people disregarding wearing of masks.

“If they wear them at all, most of them are left sagging like a necklace. Scientists have said the virus targets easily those with a weaker health system, but I say it preys more on ignorance, denial and wishful thinking,” he said.

“I have also noticed that some of our citizens no longer respect the observance of the one-meter social distancing, let alone the upkeep of hygiene and sanitation by simply washing of our hands with soap and running water and utilization of sanitizers,” he said.