MINISTRY of Health Permanent Secretary for Technical Services Professor Luckson Kasonka says his ministry fears that there might be a surge in COVID-19 cases during this cold season.

In an interview, Prof Kasonka said it was likely that the current weather conditions would see an escalation in COVID-19 cases.

“So it is likely and it is feared that this weather that is prevailing now, the COVID transmission can escalate. So you know that transmission of Flu, the common cold, the Influenza that you know about is through contacts, handshakes or touching premises that someone else with Flu has [touched]. So in the same fashion, COVID can be transmitted that way. It is likely that if we get a case of COVID, it will be easily transmitted in this weather that is prevailing right now,” he said.

“Again the five golden measures stay key; hand-washing because if you should touch a premise that is contaminated with COVID virus material, if you wash it, you wash it away. You sanitize using these new sanitizers, similarly, you wash it away. Most importantly is masking [up] in this weather because the discharge of the virus comes through the nostrils and probably through the mouth, through coughing and sneezing. If we all mask up then we reduce the chance of quickly transmitting to the next person. We fear that we might see a surge in the COVID numbers.”

Prof Kasonka explained that the Flu virus survived in the cold season because the virus could easily float in the thick air.

“You know COVID is like a Flu, the virus enters the body through the respiratory airways, so COVID imitates Flu. You know also that the Flu virus survives in the cold season, because the weather is thick and the virus can easily float in the thick air and it stays a little longer alive in the outside environment till it gets into the next person. So from the cold it is inactivated, it can stay longer but when it crosses into the human body, under the body temperature, the human body, it reactivates at 36 degrees,” he said.

And Prof Kasonka said since the introduction of COVID-19 vaccinations, there was a reduction in common cold and flu.

“Most importantly over and above the five measures, it is vaccination. You would observe that since the vaccination, the incident of common cold, Flus seems to have gone down. I am one [person] that used to get Flu very frequently and because of my vaccination, I have seen similarly that the Influenza and the common cold have gone, and you could have observed that for yourself as well. So you see that the same vaccine for COVID has got effects on other Flu-related kind of vaccines because the biological behaviour for all these upper respiratory translated viruses is the same. So the added advantage of the COVID vaccination, it reduces the frequency of Flus. So we should encourage people to go out and get the COVID vaccination,” said Prof Kasonka.