Thai coronavirus suspect tests negative

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A THAI national who ran away from being tested for the deadly coronavirus and subsequently returned to Wilkins Hospital after the police had launched a manhunt for him, has tested negative to the virus, the Daily News reports.

This comes as fears are growing among panicking Zimbabweans that the government is not fully prepared for the lethal disease, which is spreading rapidly around the world and has now killed more than 4 000 people and infected plus 115 000.

Harare City’s health director Prosper Chonzi said the man had tested negative to the virus and has been discharged from the hospital.

“I am glad to confirm that we now have the test results of the man from Thailand and they indicate that he is negative. He has been discharged from the Wilkins Hospital and we continue reiterating that no case of coronavirus has been confirmed in Zimbabwe,” Chonzi said yesterday.

The Thai national’s case also comes at a time when another foreigner died on Sunday on her way from Mutare to Wilkins Hospital after complaining of shortness of breath, which has been listed as one of the symptoms of the virus.

Speaking in the Senate on Tuesday, Health and Child Care minister Obadiah Moyo refuted claims that the government was hiding information on what really caused the woman’s death, indicating that she had tested negative to the virus.

“There is a case of a Mutare woman who returned from China more than a month ago on 24th January. She presented to her general medical practitioner and was then referred to Wilkins Hospital on 6th March for COVID-19 tests, but unfortunately, she died before she got to the hospital. So I wanted to clarify that to you so that you do not follow the information that may be coming through social media, Madam President,” Moyo said.

“She actually died before getting to the hospital and then because she was dead, they had to move the body into an isolation room and then go through the process of taking samples; send the samples for testing, wait for five hours before the results. We were only called at 2230 hours to be told what the result was. So the result came back negative,” he added.

Meanwhile, most schools across the country have started implementing prevention measures to ensure that pupils were safe in case of an outbreak.

In a letter to parents, Twin Rivers Education Trust indicated that the school was purchasing special chemical hand sanitisers which would be used in each classroom alongside soap in the bathrooms.

“Education on the spread of diseases in general and the coronavirus in particular will be reiterated to the children.

Coughing etiquette will also be emphasised whereby the children are taught not to cough into their hands per se, but to cough or sneeze into tissues and dispose of them appropriately and then wash their hands with sanitisers afterwards.

“We all know that face masks are extensively used world-wide, but it was interesting to hear WHO saying that unless they are very specially made they would not be as effective as general hygiene involving the cleanliness of hands and the care taken with respiratory conditions or ailments,” read part of the letter.

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