We won’t quarantine Chinese visitors: Govt
THE government says it has no plans to quarantine travellers coming into Zimbabwe from coronavirus-affected China because it is expensive and against World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations.
With the coronavirus showing no signs of abating, having killed 722 people and infecting more than 34 546 others to date, there has been a push for Zimbabwe to join other countries such as India, Australia and Japan who quarantine people coming from China.
Quarantine generally entails keeping a group of people separate and isolated from the general public to stop them from developing a disease which they can spread to others.
The Health ministry’s epidemiology and disease control director Portia Manangazira said Zimbabwe will instead practise self-quarantine to establish if people coming from affected countries do not have symptoms of the killer virus.
“We have already started self-quarantining. Those under surveillance are advised to do minimal interactions for at least 14 days. Things like going to church and meeting should be avoided for now.
“In the event that someone coming straight from Wuhan or other affected countries has shown symptoms of the virus, we will then quarantine them at the hospital. We cannot quarantine all travellers coming from affected areas in one place because it’s expensive and against World Health Organisation (WHO) regulations,” Manangazira said.
Zimbabwe is currently monitoring over 740 people who came into the country from affected areas for symptoms that range from pneumonia, high fever, flu symptoms, shortness of breath and diarrhoea.
Zimbabwe is not among 13 African countries considered top priority and highly vulnerable to the threat of coronavirus by WHO because of their direct links or high volume of travel to China. The countries considered top priority in the African region by WHO are Algeria, Angola, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
This comes as the Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe has issued a consular message discouraging its citizens from travelling to Zimbabwe, while encouraging local authorities to impose a 21 day self-quarantine on individuals who come into the country from China as part of efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
China’s consular minister and deputy ambassador to Zimbabwe Zhao Baogang revealed this in Harare recently after a meeting with the Heath and Child Care minister Obadiah Moyo to give an update on the coronavirus.
Baogang said the Chinese government has called on relevant Zimbabwean authorities to impose a 21-day self-quarantine instead of the usual 14 days on Chinese nationals who come into the country.
“The Chinese embassy is working with the ministry of Health to mobilise resources to stop the spread of the coronavirus and the embassy of China has already set up a task force ready to respond in case there is an outbreak.
“We have also issued out a consular message to our citizens discouraging them from travelling to Zimbabwe and we have also encouraged the Zimbabwean government to impose a self-quarantine on people coming from China of up to 21 days for the security of the country,” Baogang said.