Local health experts have warned that the fifth wave of COVID-19 could be imminent following a surge in new coronavirus infections in schools since the resumption of classes on 7 February 2022.
The latest statistics released by the Ministry of Health and Child Care indicate that on Friday, 18 February 2022, 432 new cases were recorded countrywide, of which 66 are from outbreaks detected from schools, with Masvingo Province leading with 41 cases.
Mpilo Central Hospital acting chief executive officer Professor Solwayo Ngwenya warned that the fifth wave could be more disastrous than the previous waves. Said Ngwenya:
Schools are always super-spreaders of the pandemic. The Omicron variant was said to be mild, but highly transmissible.
Unfortunately, Omicron has evolved to have three more variants which are BA1 and BA2 and yesterday they found another mutation of the BA2 variant.
The BA2 is the one that has taken hold throughout the country. The variant is highly transmissible. Its mutation has a high mortality.
So we are now going to face the fifth wave and the fifth wave has just started. The moment the authorities announced that the fourth wave had subsided, the fifth wave started brewing.
Official data is showing that schools are under siege. The fifth wave will probably be more catastrophic than the fourth wave.
There would be widespread infections in a very short time not only in Zimbabwe but throughout the globe.
But the situation is being faced by a very complacent population, which is very disastrous.
Medical and Dental Private Practitioners of Zimbabwe president Johannes Marisa said:
It is only that there was a limited testing capacity which has now improved. When we have more testing facilities then we have more cases.
However, due to the continued mutation of the variants, we can’t rule out the possibility of the fifth wave of the pandemic very soon.
Late last month, the Government further relaxed COVID-19 restrictions but the wearing of face masks remains mandatory in public places.