By Health Correspondent
At least 22 people onboard of a flight from Wuhan City where the novel coronavirus was first reported, are under surveillance with the majority being Zimbabweans, Health and Child Care Ministry official has said.
The country’s points of entry are on full throttle using World Health Organization’s case detection guidelines for surveillance of this respiratory virus.
Addressing a combined interagency coordination committee on health and the national task-force on epidemic prone diseases meeting on Friday, Ministry of Health and Child Care Director for Epidemiology Dr Portia Manangazira said the people are currently being monitored for this yet to be declared public health pandemic of international concern.
“So now in terms of the national response strategies. We want to strengthen as I said, for us its really activating the national multi-sectoral task-force to address sort of a potentially pandemic severe acute respiratory infection. So we should strengthen the joint control mechanism for multiple sectors and its very critical because this is something we perceive to be coming from beyond our borders and not already inherent within us,” she said.
She said they have to make sure that with whoever is coming in from Wuhan is monitored for early detection of infection so they know what to do.
“So we have to alert the multiple sectors in terms of our border authorities that is the ZIMRA, immigration, our own port health colleagues, ministry of agriculture is fortunately present at the borders as well as the response mechanisms that is largely represented in this room. Joint prevention and control of pneumonia outbreaks caused by the novel coronavirus,” said Dr Managazira.
World Health Organisation Zimbabwe Disease Prevention and Control Officer Dr Anderson Chimosoro said WHO does not recommend restriction on travels or trade for people infected with novel coronavirus.
“At this stage there are no indications that there should be restrictions. It is prudent to advise our population or health workers on the need to reduce the general risk of acute respiratory infections by following some of these measures which include avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections, frequent hand-washing especially after in contact with the people or their environment. Avoiding unprotected contact with farm or wild animals. Many of us are farmers so we need to be careful with our animals,” he said.
An epidemiologist said as of yesterday, 22 persons were received from China and some of them coming from the affected areas. “Part of them are our own local Zimbabweans,” said the epidemiologist.