RENOWNED medical expert Dr Aaron Mujajati says there is a possibility of a further increase in COVID-19 cases now that various sectors of the economy have been opened in the country.

In an interview, Dr Mujajati said with the expected rise in Coronavirus cases, there was need to increase surveillance to counter the further spread of the disease.

“We still have COVID and it still exists. In Europe and America, COVID has continued to make problems, including here in Africa. You also need to bear in mind that as Zambia, we need to respond to COVID in the way it is affecting us so far. Without making it sound like COVID is not a serious disease it is, look at the number of people that have died in the USA; also, you would want to pay attention to how many are being sent home from those that were quarantined. How many of those had symptoms of the disease? We need to also look at that aspect and tailor the response both as an individual and a country to the level of the threat that faces us,” Dr Mujajati said.

“Now that several sectors of the economy have opened, schools and everything else, expect COVID numbers to increase, that is how it is going to be. Expect the number of COVID to increase and one of the things I expect to see happen is that people are now freely interacting. I also expect that surveillance will also be increased…because one thing I expect is that schools having been opened, you may not see a lot of young people falling sick, but they are very good transmitters of viruses. So, expect the elderly and the very sick to get COVID and probably get serious forms of COVID. So as schools open, expect that to happen, I expect the numbers to continue rising.”

He added that government should have had done more tests prior to reopening of schools as it would have given a more tailored response.

“I don’t feel we rushed per say, I just feel we should have done a lot more tests prior to reopening so that it gives you a more tailored response. I don’t feel that we rushed. Now with this direction that we have taken, we just need to increase surveillance. I am hoping that a lot more effort and a lot more tests could be done because now that everybody else is out there, it becomes imperative that we increase efficiency in terms of our capacity to capture those that are falling sick and especially that are susceptible to severe forms of the disease. We should find a way of making sure that we efficiently capture those,” Dr Mujajati added.

He also stressed the need to increase sensitization on COVID-19.

“The conversation around COVID in the community is reducing, you cannot deny that; but in as much as that is the case, you still cannot relax as a government, even as individuals or stakeholders, you cannot relax the measures. In as much as the updates have been reduced to a week, the sensitisation needs to continue; you can’t stop that and you shouldn’t stop that,” advised Dr Mujajati.