ZIMBABWEAN authorities have rubbished reports that the country has over 100 cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
In the report which comes in the wake of a confirmed case in Egypt, a website www.zimnews.net/org reported the country has 118 cases.
But the Health Ministry and the Information Ministry damned the report arguing the country does not have a single case.
The article which caused panic in the nation has since been removed off the website.
Below is the Health Ministry’s Statement
The Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) would like to categorically deny the report from www.zimnews.net/org of 15 February 2020 on coronavirus. The said 118 cases are FAKE. The website quotes an interim Minister of Health and Child Care as having addressed a press conference to announce this fake news. Zimbabwe has no Interim Minister of Health and Child Care. No such press conference was ever held by the MoHCC. The public is therefore urged to ignore this fake news. The Ministry wishes to inform the public that as of the 15th of February 2020 no cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) have been reported in Zimbabwe
The MoHCC is seriously concerned by falsehoods that are continuously reported by individuals via social media and in some newspapers. Such falsehoods are damaging to the country’s image and cause panic and despondency among the public. All those who want to report on Covid-19 are advised to seek for informed information from the responsible authorities who are the minister himself or his Permanent Secretary to avoid publishing falsehoods.
The MoHCC wants to assure the public that adequate measures have been put in place to prevent, detect and respond to the outbreak and that all health workers are on alert and have been trained under the Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) program to respond effectively to this and other outbreaks.
The MoHCC has a record of all people coming into the country from Covid-19 affected countries. Besides undergoing screening at the points of entry, the people provided with health education on Covid-19 and are followed up daily by our field staff to assess their health status. Working with the Chinese Embassy, all those from China are self-quarantined for 21 days.
Covid-19 is a respiratory infection caused by coronaviruses. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illnesses 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
The symptoms of the Covid-19 include fever, chest pain, chills, breathing difficulties, 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 can also spread the virus Faecal contamination is rare.
To reduce the risk of infection with the new coronavirus it is important to:
- Avoid close contact with anyone with a cold or flu-like symptoms
- Prevent unprotected contact with farm or wild animals
- Cover the nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing with tissue paper or flexed elbow
- Wash hands with soap and running water after sneezing or coughing, when caring for the sick, after toilet use, before eating food, before, during and after preparing food, when hands are dirty and after handling animals or animal waste.
The Ministry would like to urge the public and its stakeholders to remain vigilant against this disease. It is important that people contact the nearest health care provider for the correct information on the covid-19 disease. All those with plans to visit China are in the meantime being encouraged to postpone the visit unless absolutely necessary until the scourge has been declared over.