Sunday, 19 April 2020


THE Victoria Falls Rapid Response Team has sent samples to the National TB Reference Laboratory in Bulawayo for confirmation after one of the eight deportees from Botswana tested positive for suspected Covid-19 symptoms following Rapid Diagnostic Testing (RDT).

The deportees are isolated at Mosi-oa-Tunya High School in Victoria Falls which was identified as a quarantine centre for Matabeleland North for all returnees from Botswana, Zambia and Namibia.

Matabeleland North Provincial Medical Director Dr Purgie Chimberengwa said the Rapid Response Team collected RDT samples of one of the deportees who tested positive after the RDT.

This comes as DNA and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) results of two other suspected cases that had tested positive on RDT in Umguza and Tsholotsho came out negative.

“One of the returnees at the quarantine centre tested positive after RDT and the Rapid Response Team has taken samples for DNA PCR testing and we are waiting for results,” said Dr Chimberengwa in an interview.

More deportees are expected in Victoria Falls, according to officials.

Dr Chimberengwa said a sample from Nyamandlovu, Umguza district and another from Tsholotsho that had initially tested positive after RDT tests came out negative after DNA PCR tests.

“The province is doing RDT and sending samples to Bulawayo for confirmation. We did RDT tests on a family of five in Umguza and another person in Tsholotsho. The Umguza suspected case was linked to Case Number 14 who had visited friends in Nyamandlovu before knowing his status. The whole family of five was tested and one tested positive. We sent the samples for confirmation and results came back negative which meant it was a false positive result. 

“The Tsholotsho case is that of a TB patient who was unwell and visited the hospital where he tested positive on RDT but the DNA PCR results came back negative hence he was cleared,” said Dr Chimberengwa.

Meanwhile, two Hwange residents died after a short illness in separate incidents last week after complaining of flu-like conditions which the Rapid Response Team treated as suspected cases of Covid-19, but results show that they did not die from the virus.

Dr Chimberengwa said results showed that the deceased, a woman aged 34 from Cinderella and a 62-year-old man from Madumabisa died of other health complications.

“The deaths were not Covid-19 related but everyone was panicking. We had to follow procedure to treat every sudden death as a suspected positive case so that we follow all procedures but the samples tested negative,” said Dr Chimberengwa.

He said a St Mary’s woman also from Hwange who died at home early last week did not die from Covid-19. Chronicle


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