OVER 1 400 people from the COVID-19 affected countries have entered Zimbabwe since the declaration of the pandemic as a public health emergency of international concern.
By Kudakwashe Pembere
This emerged during the second cabinet decision matrix for 2020. Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo at the Interministeral meeting on COVID 19 last week had said the number was 741.
Media,Information and Broadcasting services minister Senator Monica Mutsvangwa said to date, 1 433 travellers have been reported to have passed through Zimbabwe’s ports of entry that are screening travellers.
“The Government of Zimbabwe has agreed with the Government of the Republic of China that these travellers be subjected to self quarantine for a 21-day surveillance period, in order to ensure early detection of symptoms,”she said.
Explaining why the number of people from affected countries entering through the ports of entry is increasing, the Health Minister said, “We are just following the recommendations by the World Health Organisation which prohibited travel restrictions. However, the Chinese government is urging its citizen to suspend travelling to Zimbabwe until the epidemic is contained. Likewise we are doing the same advising our people to do the same,” he told this publication after the briefing. We have moved a step up in terms of monitoring our selection up to21 days where someone from an affected country will have to be in a single environment without having to move out.”
He also revealed that the country now has 300 test kits which came along reagents to identify the COVID-19.
“Given that Africa and Zimbabwe in particular does not have a single identified case as well as the number of people coming into the country, I think 300 is enough,” he said.
During the simulation tour at the dedicated isolation facility at Wilkins Hospital, Harare City Health Director Dr Prosper Chonzi said they set aside 100 plus beds in the event that the diseases penetrates through the country’s ports of entry.
Over 25 countries have reported confirmed cases of the COVID-19 with two deaths outside mainland china that is in Philippines and Hong Kong. Hundreds of cases have been confirmed elsewhere, with the virus being reported in about 25 countries in the Asia-Pacific region as well as Europe, North America and the Middle East.
In China, more than 1,100 people have died, the government said on Tuesday, while more than 44,600 people are known to have been infected on the mainland.