Saturday, 1 February 2020


ZIMBABWE has activated health surveillance systems at its ports of entry to screen people from countries that have reported cases of Coronavirus infections.

At least 22 people who arrived in the country on board a flight from Wuhan City where the pneumonia-causing virus was first reported are under surveillance. Multi-sectorial taskforce teams have been set up at various entry points and are guided by the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) case detection guidelines for surveillance of the virus.

Addressing a combined inter-agency coordination committee on health and the national taskforce on epidemic-prone diseases meeting on Friday, Ministry of Health and Child Care Director for Epidemiology, Dr Portia Manangazira said the Government was on high alert. 

“So now, in terms of the national response strategies, we want to strengthen, for us, it’s really activating the national multi-sectorial taskforce to address a potentially pandemic severe acute respiratory infection. So we should strengthen the joint control mechanism for multiple sectors and it is very critical because this is something we perceive to be coming from beyond our borders and not already inherent within us.”

Dr Manangazira said the prevention and control of pneumonia outbreaks needed a joint and holistic approach.

“We have to alert the multiple sectors in terms of our border authorities that is the Zimra, immigration, our own port health colleagues, ministry of agriculture is, fortunately, present at the borders as well as the response mechanisms,” she said.

World Health Organisation (WHO) Zimbabwe Disease Prevention and Control Officer, Dr Anderson Chimosoro said WHO does not recommend restriction on travels or trade for people infected with the novel coronavirus. 

“At this stage, there are no indications that there should be restrictions. It is prudent to advise our population or health workers on the need to reduce the general risk of acute respiratory infections by following some of these measures which include avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections, frequent hand-washing especially after contact with people or their environment.”

Meanwhile, Botswana registered its first suspected case of the Coronavirus on Thursday, according to the country’s Ministry of Health and Wellness. The case was registered at Gaborone’s Sir Seretse Khama International Airport. A passenger travelling from China had arrived at the airport on an Ethiopian Airways flight. 

“The suspected case is still being investigated,” the ministry said. Sunday Mail


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