Health experts have suggested that the government should begin relaxing the Level IV national lockdown for the sake of the economy since indications on the ground were that COVID-19 is now relatively under control.
Based on statistics from the Ministry of Health and Child Care, new coronavirus infections and COVID-19 deaths have fallen noticeably since stringent lockdown measures were imposed on 5 January this year.
At the first week of January when the country introduced the strict lockdown, the country recorded 6 008 new COVID-19 cases and 106 deaths, but new infections have gradually been falling, with 1 058 new infections recorded last week (as on Friday), albeit, with 110 deaths.
Zimbabwe Medical Association (ZIMA) president Dr Francis Chirowa had this to say:
If it was just the pandemic alone, we would want to have an indefinite lockdown. But because the lockdown has its own effects on the economy, there is a need for Government to loosen up but not completely take it away.
All other measures such as social distancing, sanitisation and masking up should remain in place. Congregating should not be allowed at all while bars, saloons and churches should remain closed.
Also, the limited number of 30 people for funerals is okay. The challenge we have is that people that do not have comorbidities (chronic conditions) are young and very active and they may have the disease (Covid-19) but they may be asymptomatic and spreading it.
Zimbabwe World Health Organisation country representative Dr Alex Gasasira said citizens should simply follow the regulations and protocols to avoid a harsh lockdown. He said:
What we would recommend for people is to comply with Government regulations and limit movement, gathering and socialisation.
Compliance to these measures in the absence of lockdown would also mean the Government would not need to enforce the stringent measures.
… In other countries where there is compliance transmission has been kept low and they have relaxed their conditions. Lockdown is usually the last option.
Meanwhile, the Level Four lockdown is set to end on 15 February after it was extended by another 10 days.