The Old Bartley Memorial Block (BMB) within the United Bulawayo Hospitals has been opened as a Covid-19 designated centre in the second-largest city in Zimbabwe.
Bulawayo has turned out to be a major CoVid-19 hotspot in the country after accounting for more than 44 per cent of the 620 cases recorded countrywide in the last six days.
The city is set to have three Covid public designated centres. The other two, Thorngrove Infectious Diseases Hospital and Ekusileni Medical Centre are yet to open as they are under renovations.
The other Covid designated centre is the privately-owned Mater Dei Hospital.
The BMB centre admitted 16 Covid-19 patients at its opening and can take in a maximum of 100 patients at a time referred from the hospitals in Matebeleland. The centre's west wing has been completed but the east wing remains under renovation.
UBH acting chief executive officer Dr Narcicious Dzvanga confirmed that as of yesterday, 16 Covid-19 patients were admitted to the BMB west wing which has been completed to cater for the growing number of cases in the city.
By Wednesday, 277 people had died of Covid-19 in Zimbabwe and the national recovery rate which was once at 98 per cent for the longest time stood at 84.7 per cent.
In an interview, Mpilo Central Hospital acting chief executive officer Professor Solwayo Ngwenya said the increase in numbers in Bulawayo could be a result of reopening of the borders which has seen people returning home from the neighbouring Covid-19 hard-hit South Africa and other countries.
“Bulawayo is closely linked to South Africa and it is a fact that many of our own in the neighbouring countries are bound to travel back home for the festive season. Some are suspected to be smuggling groceries and even dead bodies via our borders and this could be contributing to Bulawayo being a hotspot.