COVID-19 Scare Looms Over Zimbabwe Ahead of SADC Summit
11 July 2024
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Harare, 11 July 2024 – As Zimbabwe prepares to host the Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit, a recent surge in COVID-19 cases among pilgrims returning from the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca has raised alarms.

A letter from the World Health Organization (WHO) to the Ministry of Health and Child Care, dated 2 July 2024, has reported an increase in COVID-19 cases in several countries with returning pilgrims, prompting heightened vigilance.

The letter, addressed to Dr. Maunganidze of the Ministry of Health and Child Care, outlines the WHO’s concerns and recommendations for mitigating the spread of the virus.

“WHO has received a reported rise in number of COVID-19 cases in some countries among pilgrims returning from the recent Hajj in Mecca. Countries with returning pilgrims carry a risk of a rise in new COVID-19 infections. All countries concerned have been advised to heighten their readiness measures in case of a surge in cases,” reads part of the letter.

With the SADC summit set to bring heads of state and high-profile delegates from across Southern Africa to Harare, the timing of this health advisory has added an urgent dimension to the country’s preparations.

According to the WHO, countries with returning pilgrims face a significant risk of a surge in new COVID-19 infections.

The organization has advised heightened surveillance and readiness measures to combat the potential spread.

The SADC summit, scheduled for August will see President Emmerson Mnangagwa taking over the leadership of the solidarity bloc.

Zimbabwe has invested heavily in sprucing it’s infrastructure ahead of the summit with roads leading to the New Parliament Building being rehabilitated to regional standards.