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'New COVID-19 variants more deadly'

by Staff reporter
05 Jul 2021 at 11:30hrs | Views
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday warned that the Delta and Beta variants of the COVID-19 virus were running riot in the country, and urged Zimbabweans to heed lockdown regulations imposed by his government last week.

The rampaging infections have stretched the southern African country's overworked health services to breaking point, forcing government to impose a two-week hard lockdown countrywide after previous localised restrictions failed to slow the infections.

Mnangagwa told mourners at the burial of the late national hero Major General (Retired) Clever Shadreck Chiramba at the National Heroes Acre in Harare that the new COVID-19 variants were highly transmissible and much more deadly.

The late general fell victim to the virus, bringing to five the number of national heroes who have succumbed to COVID-19, including the late ambassador to Mozambique, Douglas Nyikayaramba, ministers Perrance Shiri (Agriculture), Sibusiso Moyo (Foreign Affairs), Joel Biggie Matiza (Transport) and Ellen Gwaradzimba (Manicaland Provincial Affairs).

"The third wave of COVID-19 is upon us, with the current variants being highly transmissible. Many lives have been lost within a short space of time. We should, therefore, not gamble with our lives. Our country is now operating under enhanced level four lockdown to curb the infection and death spikes," Mnangagwa said.

He ordered all citizens to get vaccinated.

"Let us all work harder to quickly return to normalcy. The country must continue to religiously observe the WHO [World Health Organisation] public health protocols and the preventive measures government has put in place. All those who have not yet received their COVID-19 vaccine doses must do so without hesitation and delay. As Zimbabwe, we cannot afford to let our guard down," he said.

Zimbabwe recorded 1 002 new infections and 18 deaths on Saturday after an all-time daily high of 1 442 cases and 33 deaths on Friday.

Even with limited testing facilities, Zimbabwe has been recording over a thousand cases per day since Tuesday last week.

The country now has 1 859 deaths from 53 665 cases, but is largely unvaccinated, with 810 008 people vaccinated with the first dose, and 567 686 having had two doses.

Last week, government announced that it would deploy the army onto the streets to ensure strict adherence to level four lockdown regulations.

At the burial, Mnangagwa described the late Chiramba as a patriot who served his country with loyalty. He died aged 66 at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals.

"The life of ... Chiramba is a testimony that he was a true revolutionary, a patriot and comrade par excellence. Our citizenry must emulate the sacrifices made by such heroes and heroines," he said.

"In the face of various forms of neoimperialism let us all remain united and alive to the clandestine machinations by detractors calculated to reverse the gains of our independence. We should never grow tired of defending, protecting and safeguarding our country's sovereignty."

Source - newzimbabwe