AT least 506 novel Coronavirus cases are under surveillance in Zimbabwe while a special unit is being set up at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals to serve as a national command centre for mitigation measures.

Health and Child Care Minister Obadiah Moyo and his Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services counterpart Minister Monica Mutsvangwa confirmed the developments and said every measure is being taken to ensure that constant monitoring is done on all ports of entry.

Returnees from the worst hit areas in China are undergoing a self-quarantine of two weeks at home, and are not to go to public places, offices, or any gatherings.

They are monitored for 21 days.

China’s Health Commission reported on Tuesday that there were 632 recoveries and 425 deaths nationwide. During the SARS outbreak, 349 people died in mainland China.

Scores of cases have also been confirmed in several countries in the Asia-Pacific region as well as Europe, North America and the Middle East.

Presenting the first meeting Cabinet Decision Matrix of the year in Harare yesterday, Minister Mutsvangwa, said: “Cabinet received an update on the new scourge on the health front, namely, the Coronavirus, which was initially discovered in the 1960s and has now claimed hundreds of lives in China in the latest outbreak. Among the symptoms of the viral infection are running nose, severe cough, fever, and difficulties in breathing.

“The Minister of Health and Child Care informed Cabinet that 506 persons are currently under surveillance in Zimbabwe for possible infection with the virus. The Minister also indicated that there is currently no vaccine against the virus, and emphasised the need for personal, family and community hygiene.”

Minister Mutsvangwa re-emphasised that there are no confirmed cases of Coronavirus infection so far in Zimbabwe, although 506 people are under surveillance.

“A Public Emergency Operations Unit is being set up as a National Command Centre at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals. Coordination will include airports and other ports of entry.

“Rapid response units will also be set up in all provinces and at all border posts. Further updates will be made available in order to safeguard the nation at all times,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.

Minister Moyo said the country is well equipped to fight the Coronavirus.

“Everyone is ready and the country is well equipped for the Coronavirus fight. We have thermo detectors to check fevers and temperatures at all port of entries,” said Minister Moyo.

Mining giant, Mimosa has also joined in the monitoring of Coronavirus infections by donating state-of-the-art thermo detectors at ports of entry.

“We have been approached by Mimosa which announced their decision to donate equipment for all our airports.

“As we are speaking their team and officials from my ministry are in South Africa shopping for the equipment and we are expecting them back tomorrow (today).

“We will be monitoring all suspected cases for 21 days. We have environmental health officers across the country who will be tasked with these duties,” he said.

Minister Moyo said all visitors to the country especially those from areas where cases have been reported will be given forms that will give more details of where they will be coming from.

“Most visitors come through Victoria Falls Airport and we are happy that the airport has fantastic isolation and quarantine facilities,” he said.

Minister Moyo said Government in collaboration with the Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe are working towards the acquiring of the latest Coronavirus test kits.

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