By Mirirai Nsingo
Zimbabwe is on high alert and has called on citizens to delay any travels to China, especially the affected province, at a time when the coronavirus death toll has risen to 81 in the Asian country.
The Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Obadiah Moyo said this while addressing the media on Monday during a tour of the Robert Mugabe International Airport to assess the preparedness of the disease surveillance system at the country’s major International health port.
“We are appealing to Zimbabweans to delay travelling to China as a measure of controlling chances of the virus spreading into Zimbabwe. We cannot just sit back and wait for China to fight the virus alone given that we are a global village and a lot of travel happens between the two countries.
“We have been in touch with China and they have communicated that they have urged nationals to delay any unnecessary travels out of China until the virus is contained,” said Minister Moyo.
The Minister said the first sign that Zimbabwe was prepared to stop the virus from spreading into the country was the strengthening of surveillance and screening at major ports.
“Zimbabwe is very much prepared to stop the virus from getting into the country. We have strengthened surveillance and we hope that we never get any cases. But in the event that we do get them, we are already working on capacitating our hospitals like Wilkins so that they are able to handle the cases.”
Minister Moyo admitted that Zimbabwe’s health sector is currently facing challenges hence this could limit the country’s capacity to handle the coronavirus hence the need to emphasize on awareness and prevention.
“Of course we have limitations given the challenges that the country’s health sector is facing. We would like to stop the virus from coming into Zimbabwe as much as possible because this will strain our already challenged system”, he said.