The country’s fight against Covid-19 (coronavirus) is proving to be almost an impossible battle as citizens in most of the country’s rural communities are now becoming resistant with little or no adherence to Government’s COVID-19 regulations.
Curfews, observing social distancing, wearing face masks, hand sanitizing Covid-19 testing and screening are some of the regulations which government has implemented as part of its efforts to prevent the coronavirus from spreading in the country. The regulations are in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s protocols (masking, social distancing and sanitizing) – which many countries have been observing since 2019 when the virus broke out.
However, people living in the country’s rural communities like in Mudzi seem not to be taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously due to various misconceptions they have about the virus.
“Many people are testing positive for COVID-19 because a lot of people do not appreciate the need for adhering to the preventive measures, especially of the new Omicron variant mainly due to ignorance. They are not taking the COVID-19 pandemic seriously despite the educational campaigns we conduct and they do not value their health as a result they may at times come to the clinic for treatment without wearing face masks and even at times refusing to get tested for Covid. However, we will continue educating them and we hope to engage influential leaders in the process, so that we try and make people see the importance of following the COVID-19 regulations in reducing the spread of the virus in the area and country at large,” said a nurse in one of the local clinics in Mudzi.
In Makaha, a rural community under Mudzi district, traveling or walking without wearing a face mask has become a normalcy. Most people move around unhesitant without wearing face masks, while some even gather without maintaining social distance. People have become ignorant and are turning a blind eye to the health risks posed by such negligence. This is worrying as it is contributing in the surge in number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in the country.
According to the Health and Child Care Ministry, as of 13 January 2022, Mashonaland East province, where Mudzi district is located, had the highest number of 3 783 Covid-19 active cases out of the ten provinces (Bulawayo, Harare, Manicaland, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland Central, Midlands, Masvingo, Matebeleland North and Matebeleland South). The province was also the third lowest to record few PCR Covid-19 tests with only 310 tests having been done. Overally the country recorded 225 084 cumulative cases with 651 of the cases being new, while the total number of deaths was 5 222.
From the above snapshot it is evident that the Omicron variant is not taken seriously and is not being treated as an issue of great concern in Mudzi, despite reports by health experts and health organisations which point to it becoming even more deadly than other previous variants.
The Omicron variant was first detected on 22 November last year, in laboratories in Botswana and South Africa and the variant is believed to be far more contagious (spreading much more quickly and multiplying faster than the Delta variant. As of 7 January 2022, the variant has been confirmed in 135 countries, including Zimbabwe. In order to strengthen its response to the threat posed by the new Omicron variant, government reviewed Covid-19 regulations in December last year.