Too Early For Zim To Issue Coronavirus Travel Warning Says WHO

THE World Health Organisation (WHO) says it  is too early and unwarranted to issue any restriction on travel or trade for people infected with the novel Coronavirus.

By Michael Gwarisa

Addressing a combined interagency coordination committee on health and the national taskforce on epidemic prone diseases meeting on Friday, World Health Organisation Zimbabwe Disease Prevention and Control Officer Dr Anderson Chimosoro said WHO does not recommend restriction on travels or trade for people infected with novel coronavirus.

At this stage there are no indications that there should be restrictions. It is prudent to advise our population or health workers on the need to reduce the general risk of acute respiratory infections by following some of these measures which include avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections, frequent handwashing especially after in contact with the people or their environment.

“Avoiding unprotected contact with farm or wild animals. Many of us are farmers so we need to be careful with our animals,” he said.

An epidemiologist said as of Thuirsday, January 23, 22 persons were received from China and some of them coming from the affected areas and part of them are our own local Zimbabweans. The  22 people onboard of a flight from Wuhan City where the novel coronavirus was first reported, are under surveillance with the majority being Zimbabweans.

The country’s points of entry are on full throttle using World Health Organization’s case detection guidelines for surveillance of this respiratory virus.

Mneawhile, Ministry of Health and Child Care Director for Epidemiology Dr Portia Manangazira said the people are currently being monitored for this yet to be declared public health pandemic of international concern.

“So now in terms of the national response strategies. We want to strengthen as I said, for us its really activating the national multisectoral taskforce to address sort of a potentially pandemic severe acute respiratory infection. So we should strengthen the joint control mechanism for multiple sectors and its very critical because this is something we perceive to be coming from beyond our borders and not already inherent within us,” she said.

She said they have to make sure that with whoever is coming in from Wuhan is monitored for early detection of infection so they know what to do.

“So we have to alert the multiple sectors in terms of our border authorities that is the ZIMRA, immigration, our own port health colleagues, ministry of agriculture is fortunately present at the borders as well as the response mechanisms that is largely represented in this room. Joint prevention and control of pneumonia outbreaks caused by the novel coronavirus,” said Dr Managazira.

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