#CORONAVIRUS: Close Schools and Ban Public Gatherings

Members from various churches gather at the women and girls symposium

HARARE City Health department director, Dr Prosper Chonzi says government should consider banning public gatherings and close school classes if it is serious about ending the Coronavirus (Covid-19).

By Michael Gwarisa

Giving his daily update on the Covid-19 which has already claimed 7019 lives and infected 173344 others according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Chonzi said Zimbabwe continue with laid-back approach it is taking towards Covid-19 and it can’t be business as usual.

We have not had a confirmed case as yet but our preparedness levels must be as good as if we have a confirmed case. So we should try by all means to do away with unnecessary gatherings, we should also start with the social distancing that we have been talking about where we maintain at least one meter between individuals.

“It will be very difficult to implement that if people are gathering at funerals, children going to school and we also have Universities and other colleges functioning normally. There is got to be a deliberate effort somehow. We may not go banning now but I think these are things we should start considering seriously. If other countries are doing it then we should consider doing it. If we remain lackadaisical then we be hit very hard by this outbreak,” said Dr Chonzi.

He added that the reason why Zimbabwe has been recording negative Covid-19 results was as a result of a loose case definition system otherwise a more stringent method would have picked up even the positives.

[pullquote]“Our case definition is very loose, if it was tight then we would only those that test positive, but its very loose, anyone who presents with a fever with a history of traveling from a reporting country and with any of the symptoms be it a flu or respiratory symptoms in nature, we are picking and testing. It is still quite a very loose case definition.[/pullquote]

“If it was tight like if you are coming from Wuhan province or from Italy and you have been like this and then chances of picking it up are many. We don’t have many travellers coming directly into Zimbabwe at the moment, maybe which also explains why our patients are coming out negative because we are picking from a very wide pool. If we tightened the case definition, you will see that maybe we can have this positive for now I think we just lucky, we may have a few that have slipped through fingers but for now it appears that the test that we doing is really specific.”

Meanwhile, results for the three cases which were admitted at Wilkins Hospital yesterday for Covid-19 testing have come out negative.

“We are now receiving a number of people presenting themselves to the hospital for screening. We are also picking up a lot more suspected that means the momentum is really high now. We remain vigilant and will respond appropriately when the time come,” added Dr Chonzi.

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