from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE – EXPERTS believe some of the more than 200 people that have reportedly died from malaria in Zimbabwe could actually have succumbed to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The Southern African country has seen an outbreak of the disease caused by mosquito, with 226 deaths documented since the beginning of the year.
More than 236 300 cases have been confirmed.
This is almost double the numbers recorded at the same point last year when 118 deaths were recorded from 118 000 cases.
The Assessment Capacities Project (ACAPS) said given malaria and COVID-19 symptoms could be similar, and because malaria could co-exist with other diseases and infections, there is a growing fear that people in rural communities who had COVID-19 would be misdiagnosed as having malaria.
Fever and headaches are among the common symptoms of both diseases.
ACAPS noted a major factor increasing malaria spread in the affected communities was the government’s current focus on COVID-19 and the complexities it presented.
The most affected areas are Manicaland, Masvingo and Mashonaland East provinces.
Peak malaria season in Zimbabwe normally occurs during the warm, wet season between February and April.
Zimbabwe has confirmed 42 cases of COVID-19 and four deaths since the first case was confirmed on March 20.
This past weekend, President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced that a lockdown imposed on March 30 would be in place indefinitely.
It would be reviewed every two weeks.
– CAJ News