Coronavirus cases shoot to 51


Sindiso Mhlophe

ZIMBABWE’S confirmed coronavirus (Covid-19) cases shot up to 51 yesterday as three more people, including a woman from Harare without a travel history, tested positive for the disease.

This comes as health experts are calling on the government to ramp up testing, contact tracing, build more isolation and quarantine centres in order to curb its spread.

“Three cases tested positive for Covid-19 today. Two cases are returnees from Botswana who both tested positive on the 8th day of quarantine and one is a Harare resident with no history of travel.

“Today, 1 379 RTD screening tests and 466 PCR diagnostic tests were done. The cumulative number of tests done to date is 34 707 (19 623 RTD and 15 084 PCR).

“To date the total number of confirmed cases is 51, recovered 18, active 29 and four deaths since the onset of the outbreak…,” read the Health and Child Care ministry update last night.

Meanwhile, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa told journalists during a post-Cabinet media briefing in Harare last night that the government is identifying quarantine centres for returnee ex-convicts and individuals who demonstrate violent behaviour.

This comes as deported ex-convicts are wreaking havoc in quarantine centres across the county, with one having been arrested for attempted murder after stabbing another returnee with a pair of scissors.

“Cabinet further agreed as follows, that suitable designated facilities be identified for the purpose of quarantining ex-convicts and other persons manifesting violent behaviour, alternative quarantine centres be identified to pave way for the opening of educational institutions and that modalities be put in place to ensure a blended e-learning system that benefits all learners in the country, including those from the rural areas,” Mutsvangwa said.

She further indicated that the government had come to a new arrangement with nurses which would see them reporting to work three days per week, while going four days off duty.

“The new arrangement will minimise the period of continuous exposure to Covid-19 and at the same time ensuring continuity of service.

“The arrangement will see the introduction of three shifts as follows: 7am-1pm; 1pm-7pm; and 7pm-7am. Under this arrangement, all nurses will report for duty every week for three days followed by four days off,” Mutsvangwa said.

She further revealed Cabinet had been advised that tobacco sales had started on a positive note, with cumulative sales for the first 16 days of the current season surpassing those of the comparative 2018-2019 season by 540 percent.

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