COVID-19: Health Ministry urges Zimbabweans to avoid foreign travel

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By Mbekezeli Ncube

GOVERNMENT has called on Zimbabweans to avoid international travel, if they could, as the country tries to reduce chances of a dreaded coronavirus outbreak that has spread from its Chinese source to other parts of the world by travelling citizens.

In a statement, Health and Child Care ministry secretary Agnes Mahomva also urged locals to abide by World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines.

Mahomva said practising and preaching cleanliness and good hygiene will help avoid the spread of the deadly disease into Zimbabwe, a country known for its fragile health delivery systems.

“As part of its efforts to strengthen Zimbabwe’s fight against the spread of COVID-19 from affected countries, government hereby advises that as a country, we continue to be guided by and follow World Health Organisation guidelines and advice on travel requirements.

“As such all travellers from countries with confirmed COVID-19 cases are screened at ports of entry on arrival in Zimbabwe,” said the top civil servant.

Mahomva also urged visitors from affected countries to delay or avoid such visits if they have febrile illnesses.

She also said there were local teams on standby to attend to travellers suspected to be affected by a virus discovered in China December last year but with devastating impact on foreign countries.

“On arrival, travellers with signs and symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath) are immediately ferried to designated isolation centres such as Wilkins Hospital for further clinical management and assistance.

“All travellers are also advised to practice good personal hygiene including washing hands with soap and water frequently, covering the nose and mouth with tissue paper or flexed elbow when coughing and sneezing as well as follow proper food hygiene practices to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission,” Mahomva added.

Some of the countries affected by the virus that has recorded over 3500 deaths as of Saturday include China with 3070 deaths, Italy 197, Iran 145, South Korea 48.

African countries like Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Senegal and South Africa have confirmed cases but no deaths have been recorded yet.