Another 18 people tested positive for Covid-19 yesterday, taking the weekend total to 91 and the cumulative total since the start of the pandemic in Zimbabwe to 716.
Three of yesterday’s patients, and eight of those on Saturday, were infected within Zimbabwe, the rest being returning citizens and residents whose infections were discovered while they were in official quarantine.
Of the 11 who were infected inside Zimbabwe, the medical authorities are still tracing the potential source of infection for seven of them. The other four are contacts of a known infected person.
The death toll remains at eight, including the 21-year-old woman who died on Saturday. She had no history of travel but did have other underlying medical problems, which the authorities cannot specify for patient privacy reasons.
Although a large majority of Zimbabwe’s cases were infected outside the country and were diagnosed at a quarantine centre before they went home, the growing number of local infections, 22 as of last week, is of concern to authorities and is seen as a result of too many people not taking the lockdown provisions seriously.
Even the growing number of exempted people are expected to wear masks when not at home, observe social distancing and maintain high levels of personal hygiene.
Complacency is seen as the greatest danger facing most Zimbabweans as the basic precautions need to be followed by all if they are to be effective. Some people have complained about water problems hampering proper hygiene, but others have noted that even a bucket helps.
On the more positive side, 181 people are now confirmed as recovered among Zimbabweans, with others who appear to be better still waiting for the confirming test.
South Africa, the worst-hit African country, saw its death toll rise above 3 000 over the weekend, with the latest figures showing 3 026 deaths from 187 977 infections.
Thanks to the South Africans giving an early warning, and assistance in closing borders early, South Africa’s neighbours have seen far lower case loads and death rates but experts see this changing if people in those countries become slack.
The world death toll has now reached 531 659, around a quarter of them in the United States, where variable responses in the different states is seen as a factor in the high infection and death rates.