Does Zim have capacity to combat spread of Corona virus?

FACTSHEET: Zimbabwe coronavirus status

ZimFact, MARCH 16, 2020 The Zimbabwe government says it is gearing itself to fight a Coronavirus pandemic which has shaken the world, but still has to outline a comprehensive plan on how the southern African state will confront a disease which the World Health Organisation (WHO) has called the biggest international health challenge in a generation.This is what we know so far on the status in Zimbabwe:

How many confirmed cases does Zimbabwe have? According to the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Zimbabwe had no confirmed case of Coronavirus as of March 16 2020.

Does the absence of confirmed cases mean there is no Coronavirus in Zimbabwe? The World Health Organisation (WHO) says the absence of confirmed cases does not mean there is no Coronavirus in a country as this could be because the testing systems in place would not have captured the cases.WHO is advising all countries to adopt a wide range of measures and to assume that it is a matter of time before the pandemic hits those states which have not recorded and confirmed any cases as yet.How many cases has Zimbabwe tested and proven negative since the Coronavirus outbreak?By March 15, government statistics indicated a total of 14 suspected cases had been tested in the country, 12 at Wilkins Infectious Diseases Hospital in Harare and one each in Bulawayo and Masvingo.

How many people/ potential cases are being monitored? Zimbabwe’s health system is monitoring over 1,000 people, according to Health and Child Care Minister Obadiah Moyo. On March 16, Moyo reported that officials had isolated Bulawayo woman, together with her family, after a doctor she had consulted in South Africa for a separate medical condition tested positive for the virus. The Government also reported that a British tourist who had left Zimbabwe on March 10, via South Africa, had tested positive upon his return to the UK. Health officials are now trace test all possible contacts for isolation.

Has Zimbabwe imposed any travel restrictions? The government has not put out blanket travel restrictions, but has banned all government officials from travelling abroad. The government is, however, discouraging non-essential visits to what it has broadly called high risk countries such as China.

Can Zimbabwe screen for COVID-19? According to the African Union’s centre for disease control, the Africa CDC, Zimbabwe was among African countries that received both training and diagnostic kits in February from Africa CDC.  The Ministry of Health and Child Care also says it has received additional kits from the WHO and the Government of China, although these remain inadequate.

Can Zimbabwe hide positive coronavirus test results? According to the WHO, Zimbabwe cannot and is not hiding any test results. WHO country representative for Zimbabwe, Dr Alex Gasarira, said on March 14: “Covid-19 by its nature is too rapid to be concealed by any country. By now, if Zimbabwe was concealing any case, they could have come out. While we grapple with containing it, the greatest challenge we face is misinformation, which is making it very difficult to contain the virus.” –ZIMFACT

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