Zim braces for Covid-19 spike  

Mugove Tafirenyika
and Nokuthaba Nkomo
STAFF WRITERS©️  THE government warned yesterday that more people could contract the lethal coronavirus in the country due to the huge number of Zimbabweans returning from abroad, the Daily News reports.

This comes as Zimbabwe has recorded four deaths from the 56 positive cases of the disease that have been reported in the country so far.
Yesterday, Health and Child Care minister Obadiah Moyo told Parliament that authorities were bracing for a spike in coronavirus infections in the country.
“The issue of returnees and deportees is where our biggest problem is. We are likely to get a lot more cases from returnees from Botswana and South Africa … the biggest source of our anxiety.
“The challenge is that we cannot stop residents from coming back. But so far the highest number of positive cases is coming from that group.
“It is an issue for all of us. So, there is serious need for us to double our testing and contact tracing efforts,” Moyo told the parliamentary portfolio committee on Health and Child Care.
“I can already see, as the results of the tests done so far are coming in, that the majority of the (positive) results point to the returnees,” he added.
The committee also heard that the government was struggling to ensure that returnees do not evade or run away from quarantine centres.
Moyo said the government had also discovered that truck drivers were smuggling people into the country, mainly from South Africa and Botswana — thereby evading local Covid-19 protocols.
“People at risk are returnees, deportees — and to a lesser extent their contacts — our health workers, cross-border truck drivers, border town residents and also those of transit towns such as Chinhoyi.
“We have to improve our testing strategy. We have to improve our turnaround time. But we have a challenge that we are competing with the rest of the world for equipment and we end up having resources coming in late,” he said.
Meanwhile, doctors also warned yesterday that the government’s failure to contain the situation at Covid-19 quarantine centres could lead to an increase in infections.
This comes as police have said about 100 returnees had run away from quarantine facilities throughout the country before being tested for the deadly virus.
The secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Senior Hospital Doctors Association (SHDA), Aaron Musara, said the government needed to tighten rules in quarantine centres to prevent returnees ending up spreading the virus in communities.
“There is a serious risk being posed by returnees who are escaping quarantine. What is needed is to enforce quarantine rules effectively.
“The government has all the machinery at its disposal to effect quarantine fully,” Musara told the Daily News.



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