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'Flu bug not linked to coronavirus'

by Staff reporter
17 May 2022 at 06:33hrs | Views
AS Zimbabwe is entering the Southern Hemisphere's colder winter months there is an increase in cases of flu but health authorities yesterday said the bug is not linked to the coronavirus.

However, with the country's neighbour, South Africa experiencing a surge of new Covid-19 driven by two variations of Omicron, BA.4 and BA.5, Zimbabweans have been urged to be vigilant so that they do not catch the virus.

For about three weeks South Africa has seen increasing numbers of new cases and somewhat higher hospitalisations, but not increases in severe cases and deaths.

South Africa's new cases have gone from an average of 300 per day in early April to about 8 000 per day this week.

In Zimbabwe as of Sunday, the country had recorded 249 262 confirmed cases, including 242 500 recoveries and 5 483 deaths. To date, a total of 6 113 527 people have been vaccinated against Covid-19. Harare recorded the highest number of 12 cases followed by Bulawayo with 10 cases and one death.

The Matabeleland region has continued to record an increase in Covid-19 cases as health experts warn of a possible surge as the country has moved into winter amid rising cases in South Africa. Bulawayo has in the past few weeks been recording the highest number of Covid-19 cases throughout the country.

In an interview yesterday, National Covid-19 Co-ordinator Dr Agnes Mahomva said the outbreak of flu in recent weeks is not linked to the coronavirus.

"We are very much aware that as we get into winter people are also prone to contracting flu-like illnesses that are not always Covid-19, but obviously as Government we encourage people to get tested and isolate themselves in the event that they test positive," she said.

"However, this is not something to panic about because it has always been expected and we are also aware that our neighbours, South Africa is going through a surge in new infections because of the Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5, which has triggered a new wave of Covid-19 infections."

Dr Mahomva said laboratory teams are currently in the process of conducting routine genomic sequencing and surveillance.

"Because of the borders, it's quite clear there is a potential of us getting those cases as well. Our laboratory teams are doing routine genomic sequencing and surveillance and we will let the nation know what the results will show," she said.

"At the moment we are still going by BA.1 and BA.2. There is absolutely nothing to panic about and we encourage everyone to remain vigilant."

Dr Mahomva urged those who haven't been vaccinated to get vaccinated.

Bulawayo provincial medical director Dr Maphios Siamuchembu said transmission will continue and urged the public to be diligent in wearing masks and practicing social distancing to remain safe.

"We are seeing a lot of complacency; people are so relaxed and it's worrying because soon those who are not vaccinated will suffer the consequences because there is evidence that they are likely to suffer more severe symptoms," he said.

In her post-Cabinet briefing last week, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said while the country is doing well in its response to the Covid-19 pandemic, citizens should remain vigilant and strictly observe the national and World Health Organisation (WHO) Covid-19 protocols.

Government also announced that sporting activities in schools remain on hold in the coming few weeks due to a possible surge in Covid-19 cases associated with winter.

Source - The Chronicle