By Pamenus Tuso
A prominent health expert in Zimbabwe’s second city of Bulawayo says residents should not lower their guard in the fight against Covid-19 as complacency can cost more lives.
Solwayo Ngwenya, Mpilo Central Hospital’s acting chief executive officer, said Covid-19 infections and deaths would remain high if residents did not change their behaviour.
“The coronavirus follows people’s behaviour,” Ngwenya said in an interview.
“Right now, people are extremely complacent and relaxed, and they are still mixing and mingling.
“So, the virus is following the people’s behaviour and we are having this terrible Delta variant …”
He said vaccinations would not eradicate Covid-19 if people do not follow World Health Organisation recommendations to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
“Early January this year, I warned people, but unfortunately the people’s behaviour did not change, and we are now faced with variants, which are resistant to vaccines,” Ngwenya said.
“It is difficult to say vaccinations are going to solve anything.
“Vaccinations are part of the prevention strategy, but overall, the behaviour of the population is critical in the way the virus moves around.
“It is being given time to change its structure and come back stronger as variants.
“So, it is entirely up to the population how it behaves in controlling the pandemic.”
The outspoken hospital administrator and medical doctor said the Delta variant was highly contagious and could be resistant to some vaccines.
“This is a terrible disease, and the Delta variant is four times more transmissible than the original Wuhan variant,” Ngwenya said.
“It is 60 percent more infectious and highly transmissible.”
President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government says it wants to vaccinate at least 60 percent of the population by year end to achieve herd immunity.
Experts, however, say high numbers of vaccinations would not signal the end of Covid-19 outbreaks.