Delay trips to Coronavirus epicentre: Dr Obediah Moyo

By ZBC Reporter
AS part of measures that the government has put in place to control the spread of coronavirus which has spread to over 15 countries across the globe, the Ministry of Health and Child Care has urged Zimbabweans not to travel to coronavirus epicentres.
Speaking this Monday at Robert Mugabe International Airport where he had visited to check the state of preparedness of the aviation authorities in monitoring and screening visitors coming through the airport in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak in China, the Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Obediah Moyo urged Zimbabweans to suspend unnecessary travel to China.
“What is very critical at this stage also is that we have to delay travel to the areas which are affected by the virus. The epicentre at the moment is Wuhan province in China,” he said.
He said the Ministry is working closing with China to contain the virus.
“We are also happy that we have been communicating with the Chinese embassy and they have also advised us that they have also put a delay in travel and cancelling of unnecessary trips to Zimbabwe. Natural in this first few weeks of this condition you will still see people coming to Zimbabwe from China and we can not stop that. What we have to do is to make sure that we have put in place all the quarantine area necessary to be able to detect any persons or any visitors to make sure that they do not have any symptoms. We are making sure that our airports are well covered and our personnel are well trained in the processes of checking all those who are coming to Zimbabwe. It is necessary that as the Ministry of health and as a government of Zimbabwe we protect our nation against any outbreaks of diseases,” said the Minister.

The Minister also said they have put effective systems in place to ensure that everyone who is coming into Zimbabwe is checked to ensure that coronavirus does not spread to Zimbabwe.
“It is a reality that if it is happening in other parts of the world we are also likely to end up with one or two cases or even more but what we want to do is to put systems in place which will ensure that we do not have any coronavirus in Zimbabwe. If it has to happen, if someone arrives and they have coronavirus, we must be prepared. And the simple fact that people travel and we have got a close relationship with China and we would have a caused a lot of people who are infected with the virus to come to Zimbabwe so that’s why we are happy that the Chinese Embassy has pointed out the need to discourage Chinese nationals from travelling to Zimbabwe.
“However, there are Zimbabweans who are also living in China or who fly up and down from Harare to Beijing in search of business. We have had one or two of such cases and we are currently monitoring them on their arrival. The monitoring process; every three days after the candidate has been scanned through our system and found to have come from that particular region which has got a high infection rate we follow up on them to make sure they are ok, we check their temperatures or if they have any symptoms to make sure that the relevant protocols are applied. Infections can move very easily from other countries and that is what we are trying to avoid and that is why we are all here at the major port of entry to make sure that the systems are working properly here, The infection is currently not in Zimbabwe and we would like to keep our fingers crossed so that it does not spread to Zimbabwe.”
The Ministry of Health and Child Care is also working on creating awareness programmes to educate Zimbabweans about the virus.
‘We have got to sale as much awareness to our population as possible, we have to educate everyone,” said Dr Moyo.
The World Health Organisation has not declared a crisis but is monitoring the situation.
At least 44 cases have been confirmed abroad, including in Thailand, the United States, and Australia.
Coronavirus is a new virus, which is a family of viruses that include the common cold, and viruses such as SARS and MERS. Some of the symptoms for the virus range from flu-like symptoms, fever, chest pains and even diarrhoea and also shortness of breath.