Sunday, 22 March 2020


The government and the opposition-run Harare City Council yesterday issued conflicting reports about coronavirus cases in Zimbabwe with Health and Child Care minister Obadiah Moyo insisting that only two people have tested positive so far.

MDC leader Nelson Chamisa (pictured) early in the morning said he had been informed by council officials that two people had tested positive for the virus at Wilkins Hospital — the designated coronavirus isolation centre in Harare — and this would have brought the number of cases in Zimbabwe to three.

Chamisa’s claim was corroborated by Harare mayor Herbert Gomba. Councils runs Wilkins Hospital.

Zimbabwe recorded its first coronavirus case on Friday after a Victoria Falls resident, who recently travelled to the United Kingdom tested positive.

Moyo made the announcement about the second case later in the afternoon. He said the 30-year-old man from Harare had recently travelled to New York on February 29 and returned home on March 9 via Johanesburg.

“He started exhibiting symptoms of flu-like illness on March 12, which progressively got worse on March 19,” Moyo said.

“He consulted with his doctor who advised him to self-isolate at home.

“The doctor alerted the local Covid-19 rapid response team that went immediately to assess him and recommended that he continues with self-isolation at home.

“[On Friday] evening he developed severe respiratory distress and after stabilisation at home, was admitted for isolation and clinical management at Wilkins Hospital, the reference lab, confirmed his Covid-19 positive results early this morning.”

Agnes Mahomva, the Health and Child Care permanent secretary, accused Gomba of jumping the gun by making the announcement.

“The mayor has jumped the gun, our position as the government is, two cases have been recorded in this country,” Mahomva told The Standard.

“Remember our ministry is the one that tests Covid-19 at our laboratory and they can only know that position through our ministry.”

Gomba said council was mobilising $10 million to increase the capacity of Wilkins Hospital to accommodate between 100 and 500 patients in light of the coronavirus cases in Zimbabwe. Standard


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