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CORONA VIRUS

Zimbabwe Approves Four COVID-19 Vaccines, Two From China

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Zimbabwe has approved four COVID-19 vaccines, as the second phase of the country’s vaccination program kicks in.

Apart from the Sinopharm vaccine from China, which is currently in use following the launch of the first phase of the vaccination program two weeks ago, the government, through the Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe, has also approved the use of Sinovac, also from China, Covaxin from India and Sputnik V from Russia.
With the second phase of the vaccination program having been approved, the government has also urged companies intending to buy vaccines for their employees to procure only those that are registered in the country, the state-run Herald newspaper reported Thursday.
The first phase, which covered those in the frontline, was undertaken following a donation by the Chinese government of 200,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine, while the second phase will target vulnerable groups, among them people with chronic diseases such as cancer, tuberculosis and diabetes.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said 34,400 people were vaccinated countrywide in the first two weeks of the rollout program.
Progress made in the initial stages had prompted the Cabinet to approve the second stage, the Herald newspaper quoted the official as saying.
All those intending to procure vaccines for their employees must procure only registered vaccines in Zimbabwe.
The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development will be purchasing the vaccines on behalf of the Government of Zimbabwe.
“Cabinet would also like to unveil the guidelines for the procurement and administration of COVID-19 vaccines by the private sector in Zimbabwe,” she said.
Following wide-ranging consultations with the private sector, all approved vaccines would be procured through the National Vaccine Procurement Fund managed by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.

“Organizations, individuals and any partners wishing to donate towards vaccine procurement will do so to the President through the fund. Donations received and pledges made to date will be announced,” she said.

Mutsvangwa said those interested in buying vaccines for their workers would deposit their funds into the National Vaccine Procurement Fund after approval by the Ministry of Health and Child Care.

The National Vaccine Procurement Fund will procure on behalf of the organizations guided by the national procurement guidelines.

To ensure safety and efficacy, vaccines shall be kept at the Central Vaccines Stores under the Ministry of Health and Child Care and the National Cold Chain guidelines shall apply.

Only trained and registered health professionals shall be authorized to administer vaccines, and only the Ministry of Health and Child Care shall be responsible for issuing all COVID-19 vaccination certificates, Mutsvangwa stressed.

“All vaccines administered at private institutions will be transported by the Ministry of Health and Child Care medical staff under guard by the Zimbabwe Republic Police,” she added.
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CORONA VIRUS

WHO Supports Tanzania’s About-turn On Covid-19

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Tanzanian leadership’s about-turn on the coronavirus received support from the World Health Organization and Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, which could help the country obtain vaccines and start to catch-up with other nations on the continent.

The east African country’s new president, Samia Suluhu Hassan, announced plans earlier this week to appoint a panel of experts to advise her on how best to curb the spread of the virus.

The move is a complete shift from her predecessor’s stance, which was to initially deny the existence of the disease and stop the publication of Covid-19 infection data just months after the pandemic broke out.

The response to the virus by President John Magufuli, who died last month, raised concerns that not only was the local severity of the disease being downplayed, but that there was increased risk of the spread of significant variants that could affect vaccine efficacy across the continent.

“We welcome very sincerely this initiative by the new president of Tanzania, as well as the statements she’s made to the population to ensure people accept the virus is circulating in Tanzania and that she is seeking to understand better the situation,” WHO Regional Director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti said in a briefing Thursday.

The WHO has been in talks with Tanzania and offered expertise and discussed ways to access Covid-19 vaccines, she said.

In a separate online briefing, Africa CDC Director John Nkengasong said he’s “extremely encouraged with the signals” from Tanzania and that the body has offered clinical assistance.

“They have not officially requested anything from us, but we look forward to engaging with them further as they move forward with this task force,” he said.

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CORONA VIRUS

Professor Niyongabo Warns of Covid-19 Second Wave in Burundi

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For most part of 2020, Burundi government had chosen to ignore existence of covid-19 pandemic and only confided in God as the only shield against the fast spreading virus across the world.

As of Friday, Burundi has officially reported 3,027Total cases, 773 Recovered, and 6 Deaths.

In an exclusive interview with  Burundian Professor Théodore Niyongabo, he opens up slightly on Covid-19 situation in East Africa’s most isolated country and hints that “The vaccine is the only way to control Covid-19”.

Professor Théodore Niyongabo is a specialist in internal medicine and infectious diseases. He looks back on all the current questions related to the pandemic. Here are some excerpts as adapted from local outlet Iwacu.

Faced with the surge of positive cases, can we speak of a second wave in Burundi?

Given the number of cases tested positive for covid-19 on a daily basis, those hospitalized. It is obvious that this is a second wave of contamination.

What do you think is the cause?

Hard to say ! Because the determinants of a wave vary from country to country. Are we in the presence of a new variant, has there been a relaxation somewhere in the population with regard to barrier gestures … The hypotheses are legion.

Once cured, can we be recontaminated? Can we be recontaminated a week after healing?

No, I do not think so. From experience, recontamination is often late. In this regard, the figures are clear.

So far, during the month of February, we have recorded less than 10 cases. Usually, recontamination will take place a year or more later. Granted, this is not yet fully verified, but the facts are there.

If not, can a mother continue to breastfeed her child once she has Covid-19?

Absolutely. In fact, this is what we recommend to them. She should continue to breastfeed. Because breast milk does not transmit Covid-19. But, if the mom has tested positive for the disease, she should wear a mask.

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CORONA VIRUS

Mozambique Announces 21-day Lockdown

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President Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique has announced a 21-day lockdown effective Tuesday April,6 as part of measures aimed at preventing the further spread of Covid-19 pandemic.

“As of 00:00 am tomorrow, all provincial capitals will be in curfew, between 10:00 pm and 4:00 am,” President Nyusi said on Monday.

The President said he is hopeful that in the next communication he will announce relief related to preventive measures. His Government hopes to prevent the dramatic situation faced in January and February from repeating itself in the country.

According to President Nyusi, Mozambique continues to have an epidemiological picture of risk.

So far as of Tuesday Mozambique has Total cases 68,227, Recovered 57,234,and Deaths 782. Mozambique completed, on March 22, one year since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Due to restrictions, Mozambique has seen a reduction in the number of cases and deaths. The reduction, said the President, has been progressive, but at a slow pace. The gains that are being made are the result of the collective effort and sacrifice of Mozambicans.

According to Filipe Nyusi, the second wave of the pandemic was more intense than the first, with five times more cases, six times more hospitalizations and seven times more deaths.

The causes are attributed to the new variant. In other words, although the number of cases is decreasing, the current situation is more serious than the second wave.

To give you an idea, Mozambique has 10 times more cases than in the last week of December. The number of deaths doubled in relation to the end of December.

Nyusi recalled that the interruption of classes has a negative impact on children and adolescents.

For this reason, the Government decided to restart classes on March 22, considering that children and adolescents are at lower risk of infection, according to scientific studies.

Even so, Nyusi called for increased attention from supervisors, staff and all school stakeholders.

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