Coronavirus cases in Zimbabwe have risen to eight while 233 countrywide tests have so far turned out negative.
Authorities attribute this increase to domestic infection, and believe lockdown will help arrest further spread.
The Health and Child Care Ministry reported on Monday that seven patients have “mild disease” and are stable. The eighth case is that of journalist Zororo Makamba who died two weeks ago.
Mild disease, according to experts is the manifestation of symptoms such as fever, tiredness, dry cough, nasal congestion, a sore throat and diarrhoea.
In a statement, the ministry said: “Four of the cases are a result of local infection, with the patients with no travel history. The ministry continues to be on high alert to the Covid-19 pandemic and would like to remind everyone to practice good personal hygiene.”
Harare City health director Dr Prosper Chonzi said national lockdown will help prevent further local infection.
“We are now worried as Zimbabwe because we have evidence of local transmission of this disease.
“Before, most of our cases were imported from outside. But now we know there is local transmission because of the latest cases that we have recorded.”
Coronavirus causes a disease known as Covid-19. The World Health Organisation says one out of every six people with Covid-19 “becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing”.
Since the first cases were recorded in Wuhan, China in December 2019, the virus has killed 37 832 people globally while 786 617 others have been infected.
is now the epicentre: Italy and Spain have recorded 11 591 and 7 716 deaths,
The United States has also been hit hard, with 164 266 cases and 3 170 deaths.
Zimbabwe is on a 21-day lockdown which began Monday, and plans to use this “early intervention” to curtail the spread of the virus.
In a televised address in the capital Harare on Monday, the country’s leader, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said, “This 21-day lockdown is not a punishment; it cannot be avoided. We have 21 days right now to save thousands of lives.
“And how will we save those thousands of lives? By acting responsibly, and by staying at home. By washing your hands and by keeping at least two metres distance from one another.”
He added, “Those who must work, please work responsibly, keeping your distance wherever necessary. Wear masks and gloves. Wash your hands thoroughly. I want all of you to spend the next 21 days acting as if you already have the virus; as if you are a carrier.
“Would you want to infect your friends? Would you want to infect your families? Would you want to infect your countrymen? Of course not. So, keep your distance — two metres away from each other. Don’t touch your face. Again . . . wash your hands. Stay at home.”