506 being monitored for possible coronavirus infection – Health Minister

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By Idah Mhetu

CABINET on Tuesday confirmed some 506 people were being monitored for possible coronavirus infection after entering the country from trouble spots abroad.

Addressing journalists during a post-cabinet briefing Tuesday, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said there were no confirmed cases of the virus in Zimbabwe yet but urged personal hygiene amongst citizens.

“The Minister of Health informed cabinet that about 506 persons are currently under surveillance in Zimbabwe for possible infection with the virus. There is currently no vaccine against the virus and emphasised the need for personal, family and community hygiene,” said Mutsvangwa.

“The Minister emphasised that there are no confirmed cases of the Corona Virus.”

Surveillance systems in Zimbabwe were activated last week, with special focus being put on the main ports of entry and exit; Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport, Victoria Falls and Beitbridge ground ports.

Health Minister Obadiah Moyo also said the country was well-equipped to fight the deadly virus.

“Everybody Is ready and well equipped for this coronavirus and at the same time well-equipped in terms of monitoring and controlling infections at our borders, at the airports and at the ground ports,” Minister Moyo said.

“We realised that our preparedness in as far as being able to follow up all the cases that arrive at our ports of entry and be able to make sure that on a daily basis for at least 21 days, we have to follow them up no matter where they are headed to…” he added.

Moyo also urged Zimbabweans with plans to travel to the affected countries to either delay or cancel unnecessary journeys to stop the spread of the novel Corona virus (2019-nCoV) which has killed hundreds in China with thousands of confirmed cases in the past month.

“Those wanting to travel to the affected nations should defer the journeys and those planning to travel to Zimbabwe from the affected countries should also cancel or delay their journey,” said Moyo.

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.