Harare, (New Ziana) – January 2021 has so far been the deadliest month in Zimbabwe in terms of Covid-19 deaths and
infections since the pandemic broke out last March, statistics show.
In the month, Covid-19 claimed 865 lives, including that of three cabinet ministers, and infected 19 464 others.
This prompted the government to impose the strictest lockdown regime during the month to try and contain the second wave of the pandemic, believed to include the deadlier South African strain.
In the months up to the end of last year, both cases of new infections and deaths had exponentially gone down.
Experts blame the strong re-emergence of Covid-19 at the start of the year on the re-opening of the borders in December, which allowed tens of thousands of locals working in South Africa to troop home for the Christmas holidays.
It is these and others that are widely believed to have brought in the new virulent strains of the pandemic, to deadly effect.
On January 5, the country recorded 34 deaths and 1 365 new cases, marking a sharp rise in daily fatalities and infections.
In the next 26 days up to the end of the month, Zimbabwe had recorded, according to the Ministry of Health and Child Care, 1 234 deaths and 33 548 cases.
This means the bulk of the deaths and infections recorded to date, 865 and 19 464 respectively, were recorded in January alone in what is now known as the second wave.
This by far outnumbers the 369 deaths and 14 084 confirmed cases which were recorded in the nine months from March up to December 2020.
The second wave even claimed the lives of three government ministers and other high profile figures last month.
Health and Child Care Minister, Dr Constantino Chiwenga said the wild fire spread of infections was likely due to a possibility of new Covid-19 strain variants circulating in the country.
“These strains are more transmissible and infectious,” he said recently.
Seeing the possibility of a second wave disaster, government imposed a 30-day level 4 lockdown on January 5, which has since been extended to February 15.
In the past week, the results of the lockdown have begun to show with deaths and infections steadily declining.
“The seven day rolling average for new cases falls to 258 from 272 yesterday,” the Ministry of Health and Child Care said on Wednesday.
And as Zimbabwe awaits its first deliveries of the Covid-19 vaccines, government has encouraged citizens to keep instituting Covid-19 preventative measures by limiting unnecessary travel, masking up and social distancing among others when in public places.
In some countries like the United States authorities are now encouraging citizens to double mask when going in public places to prevent infection with new variants of the virus.