WITH Zimbabwe put in panic mode following its western neighbour Botswana’s suspected novel coronavirus case, national health authorities have assured they neither have suspected nor confirmed cases.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
In a statement, Health and Child Care Preventive Services Chief Director Dr Gibson Mhlanga disputed the viral messages on social media claiming Zimbabwe as having a suspected case of the n-COv.
“The Ministry of Health and Child Care would like to clarify that as of today 31 January 2020, no cases or suspects of coronavirus have been reported in Zimbabwe despite social media reports. The Ministry of Health and Child Care has put in place adequate measures to detect and respond to the outbreak if ever it occurs in the country,” he said.
He also noted a message encouraging people to drink water as a preventive measure for coronavirus infection.
“While drinking clean and safe water is good for our health, it does not prevent coronavirus infection. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to severe diseases such as the Middle Eastern Respiratory syndrome and severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. The outbreak in China is from a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans. Coronaviruses are transmitted between animals and humans or humans to humans,” said Dr Mhlanga.
The symptoms of the new coronavirus infection include fever, chest pain, chills, and difficulty in breathing, headache, sore throat, cough, pneumonia and kidney failure. The coronavirus infection is highly infectious and can be spread through the air via coughing and sneezing.
“Close personal contact with an infected person such as touching or shaking hands, touching an infected object then touching the mouth or eyes without washing hands, touching an infected object then touching the mouth or eyes without washing hands can also spread the virus, faecal contamination is rare,” said the Preventive Services chief director.
Dr Mhlanga said it is important for Zimbabweans to contact nearest health care providers for correct information on the coronavirus infection.
“The Ministry of Health and Child Care would like to discourage the public from circulating incorrect messages that cause unnecessary panic in the populace. The Ministry encourages those who planned to travel to China for non-essential purposes to defer their visit where possible until the outbreak has been declared over,” said Dr Mhlanga.