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The Hwange District, Might Be A Gateway For The Coronavirus Into Zimbabwe

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HWANGE District is on high alert for Coronavirus with the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC) carrying out sensitisation meetings while strengthening monitoring and surveillance mechanisms at ports of entry and medical facilities.

About 4 593 cases have been recorded globally with China being the worst affected with 106 deaths. There are 56 confirmed cases in 15 countries outside of China.

Initially, 41 people in Wuhan, China were recently diagnosed with the coronavirus, a family of viruses that can cause both common cold and severe acute respiratory syndrome. There is no vaccine available for protection against the human coronavirus infection.

Hwange has ports of entry at Victoria Falls, Kazungula, Victoria Falls International Airport and Pandamatenga.

Speaking in an interview on the sidelines of a sensitisation meeting of the District Civil Protection Committee (CPC), District Medical Officer, Dr Fungayi Musinami said the exercise was part of equipping the CPC with information and discussing preparedness strategies.

“Today we are in Hwange meeting with CPC to do a sensitisation meeting regarding the coronavirus outbreak that originated in China but has spread to several countries globally. As Hwange district, we are a border town.

We have ports of entry in Victoria Falls, Kazungula, Vic Falls International airport and Pandamatenga so we need to be vigilant in terms of monitoring and surveillance while making sure we prevent the outbreak from coming into this country. So, today’s meeting was sensitisation of the CPC and discussing our preparedness strategies in response,” said Dr Musinami.

She said they were screening all travellers from affected countries at the district’s various ports of entry in an effort to contain and prevent the spread of the outbreak.

“What we have done so far is we are screening all travellers from the affected countries at our ports of entry and categorising them depending on whether there have symptoms or not. So far we have not heard of any suspected cases of coronavirus but we are screening everybody that comes so that we can isolate those that are suspected to have the condition. That way we contain the virus,” she said.

Dr Musinami said the district had adopted a leave-no-one-behind strategy in which dissemination of information and equipping health facilities with screening tools was key in managing the outbreak.

“We are guided by WHO guidelines that are still developing because this is a new virus that has just come up but through the MoHCC and coming down to the district we are developing strategies to respond to this virus. Our strategy is to leave no one behind. Information is important, people need to have accurate information.

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We are disseminating this information to all our health facilities, the screening tools to all our health care providers so that even in our hospitals and clinics people can be screened for this virus. That way we can manage it,” she said.

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people and are commonly spread from an infected person to others through air by coughing and sneezing, close personal contact as well as touching an infected surface.

Symptoms include running nose, headache, sore throat, fever, short breaths or difficulties in breathing among others.

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