Zim confirms eighth COVID-19 patient

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Sydney Kawadza

Zimbabwe recorded its eighth victim of the COVID-19 virus as government continues to strengthen efforts to curb the spread of the disease which has already been declared a global pandemic.

Broadcaster and socialite Zororo Makamba died from the virus.

The country has also screened more 16 000 people arriving from countries affected by the virus of which 623 arrivals have been put under surveillance since January 22 this year.

Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport had the highest number of passengers screened 12 331 people being screened while 73 passengers were put on surveillance.

A further 1 347 passengers were screened at Victoria Falls International Airport where 62 people were put under surveillance while 1 164 passengers were screened and 243 put under surveillance at the Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport in Bulawayo.

AT Forbes Border Post in Manicaland, 1 513 people were careen although no-one was put under surveillance while screening of passengers was also conducted along the Beitbridge Road, Kangula Border Post and Plumtree Road.

In a Situational Report, the Ministry of Health and Child Care, local transmission started on March 24, 2020.

“Zimbabwe has reported 8 cases with one death since the onset of the outbreak and the first imported case was reported on the 21st of March 2020,” the report states.

The first case was reported in Victoria Falls where a man who had travelled to the United Kingdom developed COVID-19 symptoms and was advised to self-isolate.

He was later screened and tested positive of the virus.

The patient was also in contact with 12 people of which three developed COVID-19 symptoms.

In the second case, which led to death, the patient, who had travelled to the United States, was in conduct with 28 people with 18 of them being followed up while four showed symptoms of the disease.

The third person to test positive after arriving from Dubai was in contact with 21 people with 13 of these being followed up while two developed symptoms of the virus.

In total, the people who tested positive in Zimbabwe were in conduct with 75 people and authorities followed up on 56 cases while 10 of these reported symptoms of COVID-19.

In total 241 people were tested of the COVID-19 virus of which 233 tested negative.

In response, President Mnangagwa on March 19 declared COVID-19 a national disaster, set up the National COVID- 19 Response Task Force chaired by Vice President Mohadi.

He also declared a 21-day nation- wide lockdown except for essential services on March 30.

Government has also set a number of priorities including strengthening contact tracing for the confirmed cases in view of local transmission including capacity for entry screening of all arrivals at the international airports and key ground ports of entry following confirmation of imported cases.

It has also scaled up training of key health workers in conformity with WHO guidelines for detection and response to COVID-19 transmission.

Authorities are also working on improving the prime case, detection and management facilities at Wilkins Infectious Disease Hospital, Beatrice Road Infectious Disease Hospital, National Microbiology Reference Laboratory and the National TB Reference Laboratory.

Government is also addressing issues of co-morbidities, TB, HIV, and malnutrition within the identified COVID-19 cases to reduce mortality.

More than 900 000 cases of the COVID-19 virus have been confirmed across the world leading to at least 45 000 deaths.

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