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More than 1000 health workers in Zimbabwe infected by Covid-19: ZADHR

By Almot Maqolo

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At least 1000 health professionals in Zimbabwe have been infected by coronavirus so far, the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) said.

ZADHR is gravely concerned with the continued increase in the number of health professionals who are being infected with Covid-19 during the discharge of their duties.

Medical associations have continued to highlight the worrying trends of health workers working without adequate PPE.

“We reiterate that the unavailability of PPEs is a violation of the 2020 High Court ruling (ZADHR vs Ministry of Health and Child Care and Others) which directed government to provide adequate PPE to all frontline health workers and also is against the tenets of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Decent Work Agenda.

“ZADHR will soon be seeking enforcement of the court resolutions in its efforts to ensure adequate protection of health workers,” it said.

Commenting on the current lockdown which is on day two, though welcome, ZADHR said it may not provide the much-needed impact in breaking the Covid-19 chain of transmission and help in flattening the Covid-19 curve. Many non-essential retailers were in operation across the country, according to a snap survey conducted by ZADHR on the 1st day of the lockdown.

A new record number of infections was recorded yesterday (Tuesday), breaking the four figure ceiling for the first time since March 2020. The country reported 1 365 new cases and 34 deaths.

Cumulatively, Zimbabwe has recorded 17 194 confirmed cases, including 11 813 recoveries and 418 deaths. 

ZADHR said the current testing statistics are not in tandem with the rising burden of Covid-19.

“The positivity rate in the few tests done over the past few days has been averaging 20%, highlighting the possibility that the pandemic could be much worse than what is reflecting in the Ministry of health and Child Care SitReps,” it said.

“The proximity and increased travel between Zimbabwe and South Africa calls for Zimbabwe to also investigate the genomic structure of the Covid-19 cases we are witnessing urgently.”

ZADHR added that: “The public health approach must then be tailored depending on whether we are dealing with a more transmissible strain of Covid-19 or not.”

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