Idle hotels to host Covid-19 patients?
THE government yesterday said it was considering turning some of the country’s idle hotels into isolation centres for coronavirus (Covid-19) patients.
This comes as the country anticipates a surge in infections by the lethal virus, which has so far killed one person in the country.
Zimbabwe has so far recorded just 10 cases of people who have tested positive for Covid-19, although this has largely been attributed to the absence of aggressive testing owing to shortages of rapid test kits.
Speaking to the media after a Cabinet meeting yesterday, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the government was expediting the process of establishing more testing and isolation centres.
“Furthermore, government was exploring options of reopening some hotels as isolation centres.
“In addition, where necessary, Covid-19 affected persons are being supported through provision of basic necessities.
“In order to expedite the process of testing for Covid-19, Cabinet resolved … that the setting up of testing, treatment and isolation centres in provinces and districts be expedited as a matter of urgency… that owing to the shortage of appropriate structures in some areas, tents will be used as temporary testing, treatment and isolation centres; and that the ministry of Health and Child Care shall procure more rapid results test kits for the newly established testing centres,” Mutsvangwa said.
“We need more testing kits. Government has identified more isolation centres around the country.
“We are not wasting time, we are making sure that everything is done,” she added.
Addressing the same media briefing, Labour minister Paul Mavima said vulnerable members of society would be paid a monthly cushion allowance of $200 to mitigate the impact of coronavirus.
He said the government was studying its database before disbursing the money through NetOne’s mobile money transfer platform.
Mavima said the government had also removed homeless people from Harare and Bulawayo urban areas as part of measures to contain the spread of the virus.
Zimbabwe is in the middle of a 21-day lockdown that was imposed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa as part of tough government measures aimed at combating the spread of the disease in the country.
The government is currently grappling with shortages of coronavirus test kits.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with our sister publication, the Daily News on Sunday at the weekend, Health and Child Care minister Obadiah Moyo said the government had defective rapid testing kits in its stocks, forcing authorities to wait for the delivery of more reliable equipment.
“We received some kits which we are not using because we found that they were defective.
“We are, therefore, waiting to receive definitive testing kits because some of the rapid results testing kits we have give defective results.
“This way, one person can test negative when one is positive, and a positive person can test negative when that is not the case. So, those tests are not reliable,” Moyo said.
“The only reliable testing that is taking place in the country is being carried by the government and not private hospitals.
“As government, we are using the golden standard which is definitive, although this takes five hours for results to show.
“We hope to get more testing kits so that we come up with results early,” Moyo further told the Daily News on Sunday.
The issue of how ill-prepared Zimbabwe has been to effectively deal with Covid-19 was brought to the fore last month following the death of talented broadcaster Zororo Makamba — after he apparently contracted the lethal virus in the United States of America (USA).