COVID-19 Rapid Response Teams in Bulawayo are increasingly becoming overwhelmed by the continued surge in cases of the pandemic, authorities have said.
Bulawayo, the second biggest Covid-19 hotspot, has seen a cumulative 3 550 recorded cases since the first case was confirmed in the country last March.
As of the last government update late Tuesday, the city had 661 active Covid-19 cases, coupled with 151 related deaths.
Authorities say half of the new infections in Bulawayo province emanate from people with no symptoms.
Provincial Medical Director, Dr Welcome Mlilo confirmed rapid teams were now failing to cope with new infections.
“Bulawayo Metropolitan Province, like the rest of the country, is recording a high number of new Covid-19 cases daily.
“We continue to follow up cases as part of our surveillance system.
“However, the Rapid Response Teams are overwhelmed by the sheer number of cases, contacts reported daily,” Mlilo told NewZimbabwe.com in an interview.
He said the situation has been exacerbated by a recent strike over wages by council workers.
“The recent job action within city council negatively impacted the provincial Covid-19 response mechanism but Rapid Response Teams are however operational and they continue to follow up cases.”
Bulawayo City Council workers Tuesday resumed work after a five-day strike action over poor salaries, a situation which has crippled critical services such as refuse collection, primary health care and burials.
Mlilo also urged residents to stay at home and isolate when they were not feeling well.
“For example, if a member of a family has tested positive, members of the same household must continue to quarantine at home whilst waiting for the Rapid Response Teams’ visit.
“The Ministry of Health and Child Care’s plans to increase the number of Rapid Response Teams and further strengthen surveillance activities are at an advanced stage.”