Zimbabwe's Covid-19 cases spike despite strict measures

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An elderly woman with Covid-19 holds the hands of a health worker.
An elderly woman with Covid-19 holds the hands of a health worker.
Alvaro Calvo/Getty Images

Zimbabwe reported a sharp rise in coronavirus infections Friday despite measures to stem the spread of the virus, a day after it identified its first case of the new Omicron variant.

It announced 1 042 new cases of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, compared to just around 20 two weeks ago.

After South Africa alerted the world to the new strain of Covid last week, dozens of countries imposed travel bans on southern Africa, including Zimbabwe.

South Africa led a chorus of criticism over the bans, but Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa instead imposed his own restrictions.

On Tuesday, he required a 10-day quarantine for all arrivals in the country, extended a night-time curfew, and required proof of vaccination to visit bars or clubs.

But one case of Omicron was confirmed Thursday, and infections are soaring.

The country has limited health surveillance systems, and the huge jump in cases has alarmed authorities.

Zimbabwe has reported 136 379 Covid-19 infections since March 2020, including 4 707 deaths.


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