Zim can now diagnose coronavirus — Govt

ZIMBABWE will now be able to test for and diagnose the coronavirus following the attainment of reagents and test kits needed for the process, the Daily News can report.
This comes as government was relying on neighbouring South Africa to diagnose suspected cases of the coronavirus as its laboratories did not have the reagents to do the tests.
The Health ministry last week identified test kits as their major hindrance for failing to diagnose the disease in the country.
During a tour of Sally Mugabe Hospital yesterday, Health minister Obadiah Moyo told the media that they now have the equipment required for diagnosis and will be testing at the National Health Laboratory Services housed at the central hospital.
“The reagents are now in the country. We can now do the tests locally we do not have to send to South Africa anymore.
“You can either test it through blood or nasopharyngeal swab (used to diagnose upper respiratory tract infections).
“I was happy to hear that they can do quite a lot of samples in a short space of time.
“One of the machines can give you up to 96 results within a two-hour period. We want to move further. We are sourcing for test kits that will enable us to get results within 15 minutes,” he said.
He added that the machines and test kits are state-of-the-art equipment that will help adequately diagnose the virus if it spreads into the country.
The coronavirus has so far killed 910 people globally and infected more than 40 000.
As a measure to prevent the spread of the deadly disease into the country, government has advised Zimbabweans intending to travel to China and other affected countries to defer their trips until the virus is eliminated.
Those coming in at the moment are screened at all ports of entry and monitored for at least 21 days to check for symptoms that range from pneumonia, high fever, flu symptoms, shortness of breath and diarrhoea.
Meanwhile, Moyo said his ministry is hoping to source for the US$5 million needed to fully prepare for the virus from the Finance ministry and other development partners.
“The US$5 million will be availed by the ministry of Finance.
“Our department of epidemiology worked on it and those are their requirements and they are yet to be met. We are also looking at getting support from other partners,” he said.

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