February 10, 2020

Almost 2000 under coronavirus surveillance in Zimbabwe

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Mirirai Nsingo

The number of people under surveillance for coronavirus in Zimbabwe has risen to 1 741, latest data from the ministry of health and child care shows.
The new statistics come at a time when the Southern African country has prepared its laboratories to be able to test for the virus.

Speaking after a tour of Wilkins and Sally Mugabe hospitals in Harare, Health and Child Care Minister, Dr Obadiah Moyo said Zimbabwe’s laboratories were ready to test for coronavirus.

“So far we have more than 1 500 people that have entered Zimbabwe through various ports of entries coming from countries that have recorded cases of coronavirus.

“What is happening is that we then screen them and they are then followed up for at least 14 days. At the Robert Mugabe International Airport, 1 267 have been screened so far, and Victoria Falls Airport has screened 348 while 126 were screened at the Victoria Falls border post,” Moyo said.

Meanwhile following an assessment tour of two hospitals in Harare on Monday, Minister Moyo said laboratories at Sally Mugabe Hospital had capacity to test for coronavirus using the existing diagnostic machines.

“As you heard from the scientists, the existing machines can test for all microorganisms and it is just a matter of purchasing the necessary reagents which we already have.

“If we had a way we could avoid having any coronavirus but given that we live in a global village, all we have to do is to strengthen our preparedness,” Moyo added.

No case has been detected in Zimbabwe so far since the outbreak of the coronavirus in China last month.

The World Health Organisation, (WHO) has since declared coronavirus a global health emergency and is in the process of mobilising US$675 million for a preparedness and response plan.

The virus that has since spread outside China has claimed over 900 lives with 40 653 recorded cases.

WHO director general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus recently said his worry was about countries that do not have systems in place to detect people who have contracted the virus, hence plans to mobilise funds.

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