Zimbabwe: We Are Well Prepared for Coronavirus - Govt

Health Minister Obadiah Moyo.
28 January 2020

Government has assured the nation that it is prepared for the deadly Coronavirus which has far killed over 80 people in Asia.

Addressing journalists after touring the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport yesterday Health Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo said he was happy with the surveillance process put in place by government.

Dr Moyo said he was happy with the process adding that they were going to perfect some of the areas.

"Its necessary that as the Ministry of Health and Government of Zimbabwe that we protect our nation against any outbreaks of diseases and at this particular instance we are dealing and talking about the novel Coronavirus.

"The epicentre at the moment is Wuhan Province in China and we are very 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 unnecessary travels to Zimbabwe so that is good.

"There are Zimbabweans who are also living in China and some who fly to China for business, we have heard one or two cases and we are currently monitoring them.We have to make sure that we have all the equipment necessary to detect any persons or visitors to make sure that they do not and so we are making sure that our airports are well covered and that our personnel are well-trained in the processes of checking on all those who are coming to Zimbabwe," he said.

Dr Moyo confirmed that government has set up special surveillance at the main ports of entry including Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, Joshua Nkomo International Airport and Victoria Falls Airport.

Although Africa has not had any confirmed case, health officials in Côte d'Ivoire on Sunday said they were investigating a suspected case of a student arriving in Abidjan from Wuhan, the Chinese province at the epicentre of the outbreak.

The Ministry of Health and Child Care has confirmed that Zimbabwe is under threat from the disease due to its close relations with China. Zimbabwe, however, does not have direct flights to and from China, which minimizes the risk.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), coronaviruses are a family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

The virus is highly contagious and there is no cure for corona virus as with most viral infections. So far, only experimental treatments have been used in China with success in stabilising patients. An ARV, Kaletra (ritonavir and lopinavir) has been used.

Coronavirus symptoms include pneumonia, high fever, flu like symptoms, chest pains, diarrhoea and shortness of breath.

Precautions include covering the mouth when coughing or sneezing, washing hands the same way as people do when guarding against cholera and typhoid.

Since last week, almost 70 people who arrived from Wuhan have been under monitoring for the signs and symptoms of the rare respiratory infection.

ChinaCivil Aviation Authority of ZimbabweCorona VirusJoshua Nkomo International airportMinistry of Health and Child CareRobert Mugabe International AirportVictoria Falls International Airport

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