This is an opinion of SavannaNews.com editorial team based on research we have carried.
WHO estimates that when China first recorded a positive Covid-19 case, there were more than 1,000 cases which were yet to be detected.
The government of Zimbabwe is yet to record a positive case of corona virus, or yet to communicate a positive case. There are doubts in the public. Whilst the public knows it is the duty of the government to avoid panic as we have seen in other countries in Europe as people are panic buying, they also do not understand why Zimbabwe is yet to record a positive case given the inherent risks that Zimbabwe is exposed to.
Firstly, let us talk about the inherent Corona Virus risks that Zimbabwe is unfortunately exposed to. Zimbabwe is a trade route just like South Africa. It is part of a passage from South Africa’s ports to Zambia and DRC. 38 people in South Africa have tested positive for Corona Virus. South Africa houses more than 2 million Zimbabweans which is the largest group of foreign nationals in South Africa. The traffic between Zimbabwe and South Africa is very dense. Zimbabwe is exposed to Corona Virus in South Africa.
To add to our risks, most tourist arrivals are from China where the pandemic started. China also houses a large number of Zimbabweans who work and study in their educational institutions. Trade between China and Zimbabwe improved in the last 2 decades hence arrivals from China into Zimbabwe can be considered a risk.
What We Expect From The Government
We expect from the Ministry of Health and The Ministry of Information to provide information. People in the rural areas need to know how to handle someone who shows symptoms of corona virus if they know them. They also need to know how to handle a corpse if someone dies from a suspected corona virus case.
Information needs to be disseminated in cities as density increases the risk of contracting Corona Virus. People need to know the nearest places they can get tested. They need to know how to avoid further spread of the virus.
WHO chief Dr Tedros called on governments to change the course of the outbreak by taking “urgent and aggressive action” after the health body declared Corona Virus a pandemic. What is aggressive action? Banning church gatherings like Palestine has done, avoiding unnecessary gatherings, and reducing the traffic of people coming into cities. Most importantly the government should aggressively monitor the points of entry in Zimbabwe. Right now people are only being ‘asked’ where they are coming from without checking their passports at Robert Mugabe International Airport. Their temperature is also being checked but there is no effort to enforce self quarantining of people coming from risky countries.
Do we have enough testing kits?
Zimbabwe has a precarious shortage of corona virus testing kits just like other countries around the world. Covid-19 is spreading faster than the production and distribution of testing kits. The health budget did not accommodate such emergencies and Zimbabwe is looking for donors to intervene. One can be forgiven to think that we haven’t recorded a single positive case not because the country is Corona Virus free but we are just not able to test!
Wilkins, Wilkins, Wilkins
The only talk we are hearing is about Wilkins. If someone suspected to have been infected by Corona Virus they are taken to Wilkins Infectious Diseases Hospital in Harare. We haven’t heard any information about where patients in other provinces and remote areas of Zimbabwe will go. Wilkins is not big enough to treat all infected patients if the pandemic hits in the same way it has hit South Africa.