Medical experts yesterday warned members of the public to guard against complacency during the forthcoming festive season to avoid another wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The warning comes as a new Omicron variant has been detected in neighbouring Botswana, a COVID-19 strain that wreaked havoc across the world around this time last year.
Government has, meanwhile, noted with concern the low uptake of the second COVID-19 jab.
As at December 5, a total of 6 574 914 people had received their first dose, while 4 942 479 received their second dose, and 1 255 099 received their third dose.
In January this year, government further relaxed the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and removed compulsory wearing of masks.
Medical and Dental Private Practitioners Association of Zimbabwe president Johannes Marisa said: “In the past two years of COVID-19, the months of November and December have been giving us problems. However, we might not be in big trouble as of now, but we need to remain vigilant considering that the festive holidays are near and so many gatherings are expected to take place.”
Community Working Group on Health executive director Itai Rusike said: “COVID-19 is not yet over as we are still recording new cases including deaths even though the cases have significantly gone down. This also applies to the measles outbreak; hence we need to remain vigilant and should not lower our guard. We need to continue encouraging parents and guardians to get their children vaccinated against measles and the general public should also make sure that they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as the country is still to meet the required herd immunity of vaccinating at least 70% of the population or 10 million people.”
Zimbabwe Senior Doctors Association president Shingai Nyaguse said the country’s COVID-19 situation was under control.
“We have reasonable vaccination rates in the most vulnerable population demographics. Sero-prevalence studies have also shown high levels of previous infection and thus natural immunity. Cases may increase but the more important metric is the number of hospital admissions,” Nyaguse said.
She said people should not panic because all COVID-19 cases will be managed.
Zimbabwe recorded an estimated 5 599 COVID-19 deaths and 257 000 cases since the outbreak of the pandemic in December 2019.