Harare (New Ziana) – Genomic sequencing results show that Zimbabwe is still free of the virulent BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron sub-variants that are fueling a fifth wave of infections in neighbouring South Africa, a Cabinet Minister has said.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa however urged increased vigilance as local cases continue rising.
“The nation is informed that the most recent genomic sequencing test results show that the circulating variants in Zimbabwe remain Omicron BA.1 and BA.2, and not the more transmissible BA.4 and BA.5 that have been reported in South Africa,” she told a post Cabinet media briefing.
“The overall number of new cases increased during the week, with 910 cases recorded, compared to 361 the previous week. An average of 130 new cases were reported per day, compared to 52 the previous week. A total of 49 new admissions were recorded compared to 42 the previous week, with 8 patients admitted to the Intensive Care Unit.”
As such, Mutsvangwa said as of May 16, Zimbabwe’s cumulative Covid -19 cases reached 249 431, with 242 537 recoveries and 5 484 deaths.
The recovery rate was 97 percent, with 1 279 active cases.
Meanwhile, Mutsvangwa said 14 new Covid-19 cases were detected through the School Surveillance System.
“This brings the number of cases recorded since the beginning of the Second Term on 3 May 2023 to 66. The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education continues to provide the requisite facilitation for the on-going Covid-19 vaccination blitz campaign in schools.
“Provinces are planning to extend the phase two vaccination blitz campaign by a few more weeks to ensure that all eligible learners are vaccinated and are maximally protected, especially during the winter season that is now upon us,” she said.
To improve surveillance, Mutsvangwa said Cabinet had approved that Provincial Medical Directors in collaboration with Provincial Education Directors submit, on a weekly basis, a list of schools in their provinces that meet the 70 percent second dose Covid-19 coverage.
“All primary schools can resume all sporting activities. Secondary Schools that have reached 70 percent Covid -19 second dose vaccination can resume non-contact sporting activities.”