March 13, 2020

‘Minimise social gatherings’

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Mirirai Nsingo

ZIMBABWE has been called upon to minimise social gatherings in the face of the Coronavirus (Covid- 19) pandemic that is fast spreading across the globe.

The Southern African country has not yet recorded cases of the virus at a time its neighbour South Africa has recorded 16 cases.

World Health Organisation representative in Zimbabwe, Dr Alex Gasasira told ZTN on Thursday that the country and Africa should start acting on minimising social gatherings.

“Now is the time to minimise social gatherings, Zimbabwe and Africa should act now. While there is no need for a lockdown for Zimbabwe since it has not recorded any cases, there is need to emphasise on social distancing and reduce gatherings.

“Social distancing is one of the critical measures that a country can use to contain the pandemic.

Gatherings should be limited as much as possible and those with symptoms should self-isolate and also present at stipulated health facilities, “said Dr Gasasira.

Social gatherings include churches, parties, and political gatherings, among others. Dr Gasasira said individuals have a responsibility to contain COVID-19 at grassroots level, adding that it is not Government’s responsibility alone.

“It is not just the Government’s responsibility, individuals should also play their part. To contain this pandemic, there is need for a multi-sectoral approach.

“This pandemic can be contained if countries do the right thing. The greatest challenge we have to grapple with apart from the rapid spread of Covid-19 is misinformation. Misinformation is making it very difficult for us to contain the virus. People should have accurate information and we urge the media to report responsibly.”

Since the first case was recorded in December 2019 in Wuhan, China, the pandemic has spread across the globe, infecting 134 922 people, with 4 990 deaths and 70 396 people recovering from the disease.

The World Health Organisation this week declared Covid-19 a pandemic but however emphasised that containment is still possible and called on countries to focus on control rather than on mitigation.

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