China Coronavirus: Zimbabwe on high alert

By ZBC Reporter
ZIMBABWE says it is on high alert for a possible outbreak of the coronavirus that has so far killed 26 people in China with more than 800 confirmed cases in China. A small number of confirmed cases have also been found outside China, including in Thailand, the US, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Vietnam and Singapore.
The new strain of coronavirus, is said to have originated in Wuhan, a province in China. This is the first time that the virus has been detected in human beings, amid indications that the disease can quickly spread, raising concern that it could turn into a significant international outbreak.
In light of the disease outbreak, Zimbabwe’s Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Dr Agnes Mahomva said temperature screening is being conducted at ports of entry.
“We have made sure that our entry points such as airports have stepped up their screening. W.h.o has told us that the temperature screening that we do is still very very valid. Our protocols are nice and clear. As Zimbabwe, we pride ourselves in preparing for these things. On the 5th and 6th of December last year we had a big meeting, a simulation over 47 countries attended where countries were assessing how prepared Zimbabwe was for Ebola and we were actually commended for our preparedness,” said the Health and Child Care Permanent Secretary.
World Health Organisation (WHO) Country Director, Dr Alex Gasasira said member states including Zimbabwe have been alerted to enhance surveillance for the disease but the international health organisation has not declared the disease as a public health emergency of international concern.
“A risk of international spread to countries like Zimbabwe is highly unlikely at the moment. However, counties have enhanced their preparedness. Measures like screening for temperature and Zimbabwe has already been doing this. The health workers should also know how to recognise the symptoms. Countries should also enhance the capacity of their labs. W.H.O does not recommend treating of Chinese nationals at entry points differently,” highlighted Dr Gasarira.
Africa Centre for Disease Control is also providing countries on the continent updated information with regards the disease.