Zimbabwe experiences dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases

HARARE, Zimbabwe

76 new COVID-19 positive cases were reported between 23May and 25May alone.

Zimbabwe has recorded the most dramatic spike in COVID-19 positive cases since the first case was reported in the country on the 20th of March this year.

Presenting a post-Cabinet media brief on Wednesday, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said that the number of COVID-19 tests conducted so far had increased from 31 589 recorded on 17 May to 38 656.

“To date, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases stands at 132, up from the 56 cases recorded on 24 May,” she said.

“This translates to 76 new cases recorded over the two-day period. Most of the tests which yielded these results were done on returnees who are quarantined in Masvingo town, Beitbridge and the capital city Harare.

“The number of those who have recovered from COVID-19 infection has increased from eighteen (18) recorded on 17 May 2020 to the current twenty five (25), while the number of deaths remains at four (4).

“The number of active cases now therefore stands at 103,” Mutsvangwa said.

The latest cases have largely been imported through returnees mainly from South Africa and Botswana.

Only one case of local transmission has been recorded.

Mutsvangwa also told the media that security at quarantine centres is being tightened in order to ensure that those returning from abroad do not escape.

This statement follows reports that 18 returnees quarantined at Mkoba Teachers College in Gweru city went missing.

Those missing a reported to be 15 men, three women, and a young boy.

Meanwhile the government has appealed to traditional leaders and local authorities to report known absconders and illegal returnees.

With the opening of schools now imminent, Cabinet has agreed that schools cease being used as quarantine centres for returnees, in order to allow sufficient time for the disinfection of the facilities.

Cabinet was advised that Wilkins and Parirenyatwa Hospitals in Harare, are now ready to admit critical patients, while Mater Dei in Bulawayo, and all Provincial Hospitals are ready to admit mild cases.

Cabinet further agreed that additional PCR testing equipment and materials be purchased, and that priority for COVID-19 testing be given to quarantine centres and those who are known to have come into contact with positive COVID-19 cases,  and that funding for construction of border roads, procurement of drones and other related technical equipment be prioritized, so as to adequately empower enforcement agents to effectively monitor the country’s borders.