Thursday, 14 January 2021

COVID SCREENING AT ROADBLOCKS

Healthcare workers will soon join the security services at roadblocks to screen people passing through the checkpoints for Covid-19 and also carry out Covid-19 awareness campaigns.

The deployment of healthcare workers at security checkpoints is aimed at screening even essential service providers to flatten the infection curve.

The health experts to be deployed to the security checkpoints will be mandated to recommend for further screening and testing people exhibiting Covid-19 symptoms.

They will also advise security personnel to prevent from entering the city centre, people suspected to have been infected with the virus.

The health experts will also carry out heightened awareness campaigns on the basic steps to be taken to control the spread of the virus.

This comes as the number of confirmed cases have surpassed 23 239, with deaths now at more than 550, a sign of the escalating crisis.

Vice chairman of the Ad-Hoc Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on Covid-19, Professor Amon Murwira, made the announcement at a media briefing in Harare yesterday.

“We have agreed that law enforcement should be combined with awareness and also screening. There will be some points where we will actually send doctors to screen people in a car to find out if people are clean and clear in terms of the disease, not only papers.

“The papers do not tell whether you have Covid-19 or not so we are increasing and tightening up the functions of our roadblocks. This is all in the spirit of protecting Zimbabweans,” said Prof Murwira.

Acting Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Dr Jenfan Muswere said, a draft Covid-19 vaccine framework plan was being developed.

He gave an update on schools particularly, students taking public examinations during the ongoing national lockdown.

“School examination classes began in earnest with pupils and invigilators reporting at exam centres without major hindrances.

“All necessary precautions to protect the teachers and students have been put in place and so far, no major incidents have been recorded countrywide,” said Dr Muswere.

Minister Muswere said the Government was heightening awareness campaigns to educate the nation on the dangers of the deadly pandemic.

He said there was a worrying trend of non-compliance by some who were defying the containment measures put in place by the Government.

“Covid-19 education and awareness initiatives are currently underway and the taskforce recommended sustained efforts in engaging key stakeholders such as traditional, political and religious leaders around the country to ensure that Covid-19 message is cascaded down to the grassroots.”

“What is worrying is that within a week, 9 993 people were arrested for not wearing masks and this points to negligence by some members of the society who are not taking the virus seriously and this calls for behaviour change,” said Minister Muswere.

Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage Deputy Minister, Mike Madiro said there was a problem with individuals circumventing security checkpoints to access the central business district but noted the law enforcement agents are dealing with the issue.

“We have a number of people who are deliberately violating those regulations, a case in point you get transporters who are deliberately circumventing the conventional roadblocks.

“The police have taken measures to make sure that those unorthodox means are taken care of.

On the issue of beer supply he said, “we have shifted focus from the patrons to the supply side to make sure that they do not supply beer,” said Deputy Minister Madiro.

Speaking at the same media briefing Chief Co-ordinator of the National Response to the Covid-19 pandemic Dr Agnes Mahomva, clarified the issue of Covid-19 centres.

She said all healthcare facilities could handle Covid-19 cases but those designated as centres were the ones which were supposed to handle severe cases of critically ill patients.

“Every single health facility in the country has been trained to be able to manage those with Covid-19. It is the issue of those critically ill patients that need the ICU (intensive care unit), so every single health facility is able to manage and isolate.

“The concept of ICU managing Covid-19 is really misleading for our people. Some say the health facility does not have a Covid-19 facility and cannot manage Covid-19, that is not true,” said Dr Mahomva. Herald

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