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'SA covid-19 variant is dominating 61%' - proof Zimbabwe has not been testing for it until now, why

17 Feb 2021 at 08:34hrs | Views
"Cabinet wishes to inform that results of the genomic sequencing which was recently conducted indicate that the new SA covid-19 variant is dominating by 61%. The variant we were dealing with in 2020 has receded," announced Nick Mangwana on twitter.

According to a BBC report, Zimbabwe is the first country outside of South Africa to report that the SA "501.YV2" variant is the dominant strain.

SA first reported of this 501.YV2 variant on 18 December 2020. It was known the variant was more contagious than SARS-CoV-2 the world had been dealing with up to this point.

According to a Wikipedia report dated 29 January 2021 Zambia to north, Botswana to the west and Mozambique to the West countries with less human traffic to and fro SA than Zimbabwe, all had reported cases of the SA variant. Zimbabwe had no reported case of the SA variant.

Indeed, until Nick's twitter, Zimbabwe had no SA variant corona virus case or death! The twitter not only confirm that we do have SA variant corona virus cases and deaths but worse still the variant constitute 61% of the cases!

Nick Mangwana's twitter raises a number of issues:

The volume of human traffic, legal and illegal, between SA and Zimbabwe is such that whatever is happening in SA one must expect to happen Zimbabwe. SA had nearly 1 500 000 covid 19 cases (near 1 000 of whom were SA variant) and over 44 000 deaths end of January 2021. Zimbabwe, with 1/4 the population of SA should have 350 000 cases (250 SA variant) and 11 000 deaths. And yet officially Zimbabwe had 33 548 cases (0 SA variant) and 1 234 deaths - 10% of the expected figures.

One explanation why Zimbabwe's official corona virus cases are very low is because Zimbabwe has not been testing as diligently as it should. Just before the discovery of the SA variant the country was doing over 44 000 tests per day. Zimbabwe should have been doing over 11 000 tests and the most recent government report dated 15 February 2021 reported 1 481 tests per day carried out.

By failing to test the country has missed out on the control measure of isolating those with the virus a particularly important when one is dealing with a contagious variant.

 Why was Zimbabwe not carrying the genomic sequencing until now when the country know since 18 December 2020 of the SA variant?

There is no doubt that Zanu-PF has deliberately kept the official corona virus cases and deaths low for the sake of giving the impression the regime has handled the pandemic well. There is growing evidence to show the real corona virus cases and deaths are a lot worse than what the regime would have believe.

There is no doubt that by failing to realise the more contagious SA variant was spreading in the country until it was 61% of the cases has helped in the spread of the virus far and wide and fast. A timeous response would have save more Zimbabwean from the virus infection and, ultimately, save more lives.

For a country whose health care services has all but collapsed test and isolate is the only effective way to contain the corona virus. Government must ramp up its test regimes to 10 000 tests per day.

Government must provide all the necessary support to ensure those who test positive are able to go on isolation for the the stipulated period.

Zimbabwe was slow in ordering the vaccines and it will probably be a year before the country can finally vaccinate enough to achieve head-immunity. It is tragic that the nation would have been spared amount of money, time and sweat, to say nothing of human suffering and deaths, spent of testing, isolating, etc. if only government had been quick off the mark and bought the vaccines. "Government was evaluating the efficacy of the various vaccine!" we were told! I hate it when the foolish pretend they knows, especially when other people end up paying dearly for the folly!

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