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Zimbabwe under siege from Delta variant

THE Delta variant has been credited for 98 percent of the recorded COVID- 19 local cases, as the nation saw infection (weekly) levels decrease from 14 275 during 27 July 2021, to 11 652 in the week ending 2 August, as Government initiated efforts to curb the spread of the pandemic start paying off.

In a recent Cabinet report, the government noted, “The decline is mostly attributable to the infection prevention and control efforts instituted by government in response to the third wave of the COVID-19 outbreak.

“Areas which recorded the most significant numbers of new cases were Harare Metropolitan Province (2 361), Mashonaland East Province (1 523), Mashonaland West Province (1 136), Manicaland Province (1 361) and Masvingo Province (1 106).”

The most worrisome aspect of the infections is that 98% are of the Delta variant.

“A genomic sequencing for COVID-19 samples collected in Harare revealed that 98% of the samples were of the Delta variant.”

“The Delta variant is a variant of concern that WHO is tracking and monitoring around the world. It’s a variant of concern because we know it has increased transmissibility.”

“This has been demonstrated by several countries. And we know that where the Delta variant is identified, it really rapidly takes off and spreads between people more efficiently than even the Alpha variant that was first detected around December, January 2021.”

“As of today, the Delta variant has been reported in 96 countries and we expect that the Delta variant will continue to spread. There are a number of factors that are contributing to increased transmission around the world. The first are these variants of concern, including the Delta variant. The second factor is that we have increased social mixing and increased social mobility, which increases the number of contacts that individuals have. The third factor is the relaxation or the inappropriate use of public health and social measures. Proven public health and social measures that we know prevent infections, reduce the spread of somebody who is infected with the virus to others and save lives. And the fourth factor is the uneven and inequitable distribution of vaccines,” stated the Cabinet report.

It is yet to be seen if the Zimbabwe government will be able to contain the virus once schools are open as most government schools carry up to 50 pupils per class with little or no distancing at all.

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