AS countries take serious measures to curb the spread of coronavirus cases, Zanzibar Health Minister, Mr Hamad Rashid Mohamed, has said that the Indian Ocean Island is also taking similar steps to ensure local people do not contract the disease.
He revealed yesterday that 65 people, including senior government officials and health officers who returned home recently from abroad are on self- quarantine and being monitored for COVID-19.
Mr Mohamed said, "We still have only one patient, a Ghanaian-German citizen who was diagnosed last week at the quarantine centre at Kidimni. He is recovering. But we are currently following up some people, with a call on all members of the public to do everything they can to limit the spread of the disease."
The minister advised social distancing and spending more time at home as some of the effective measures to remain safe.
Updating journalists about the novel virus on the semi-autonomous Isles, Mr Mohamed said in addition to recommended behaviour change such as washing hands frequently and thoroughly and avoiding touching one's mouth or eyes, social distancing at least one- metre gap is important to curb the spread of covid-19.
He said mass prayers in churches and mosques should be short to minimize prolonged gathering, and that media particularly Radio and Television should reduce music programmes and allow more education programmes on coronavirus.
The Minister also said that they have written to all flight companies not to bring tourists or risk 14 Days quarantine on individual costs before being freed, and that crowding in markets and hospitals is discouraged with immediate effect.
Flanked by other health officers in the Islands, Hamad emphasized that everyone has a role to play including encouraging self-quarantine, measures that can be useful in protecting others from the spread of the infectious disease.
According to the health officers self-quarantining is a preventative measure that "separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease, like those from highly affected countries, not to spread the disease to others if it develops.
Meanwhile, as the World marks the International Tuberculosis (TB) day today, the Isles Health Minister has urged people to observe health precautions and rush to hospital once they see symptoms. Zanzibar recorded 996 cases of TB last year with 39 deaths.
He said public gatherings to commemorate the Day have been cancelled on coronavirus. Each year, World Tuberculosis (TB) Day is commemorated on March 24 to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of TB, and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic.