Cyclone halts Zimbabwe response to second COVID-19 wave



from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) THE devastation following Cyclone Eloise might cause disruptions to containment of the soaring coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Zimbabwe.

The storm is one of a setbacks that also includes the arrival of a new variant of the pandemic.

It is feared some Zimbabweans brought the new variant to the country from neighbouring South Africa during the December festive season.

Funeral parlours are upscaling services and failing to meet demand, leading to anxiety about the extent of the pandemic, which has claimed the lives of high-ranking officials in the President Emmerson Mnangagwa administered government.

Some 10 424 COVID-19 cases and 280 deaths that were recorded on December 3, 2020 have since tripled to 33 388 confirmed cases, and 1 217 deaths as of this week.

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has called on all actors to increase support for citizens as they recover from the havoc wreaked by Cyclone

Eloise while simultaneously trying to contain surging COVID-19 cases.

“The tropical storm, the spike in COVID-19 cases and deaths as well as the potential arrival of a new COVID-19 variant is endangering the lives of Zimbabwe’s population,” said Zvidzai Maburutse, Zimbabwe director at IRC.

Flooding and mudslides have temporarily displaced scores of people from their homes.

The weather has reduced access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, which are crucial in the fight against COVID-19.

The storm has also made it difficult for those affected to stay in line with preventative measures because water and sanitation infrastructure has been damaged.

“People in evacuation centers are at risk of COVID-19 due to lack of hygiene support,” Maburutse said.

– CAJ News

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