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Zimbabwe: contaminations could rise as COVID-19 fears disappear

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With Zimbabwe not recording any COVID 19 related deaths for a whole week earlier this month, many have let their guard down.

As a result, few masks are worn in public or are misused, worn as chinstraps.

But lack of efficient national testing make it very difficult to realise the extent of the number of COVID 19 contaminations.

Nevertheless, many say they don't see the need to remain cautious.

"We used to be afraid especially during the first 21 days of lockdown, but now we are not scared of it. That's why I am not wearing a mask, there is no coronavirus" states confidently Omega Chibanda, a resident of Chitungwiza, on the outskirts of Harare.

With many leaving social distancing behind, spreading awareness has become more and more challenging for Healthcare workers.

"Our job is now harder because people are no longer afraid. Some even tell us they are not scared of the virus because it has not killed anyone they know", explains Rosemary Rambire, a Community Worker that goes door to door to raise awarness among families of the danger of COVID 19. T_hey add that they are more afraid of HIV/AIDS because that has killed many people they know_.''

Many have become complacent about the threat posed by the coronavirus, which experts say could allow the disease to become a more serious problem in the coming months.

Under strong economic and political pressure, Zimbabwe's government lifted the strict lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the virus, so schools, churches, bars, restaurants, airports, and tourist attractions were allowed to reopen.

Should a second lockdown be put in place, the country's already struggling economy could suffer severe consequences.