Govt embarks on major Covid-19 testing exercise
Harare (New Ziana) – Government will embark on a major national Covid-19 testing exercise beginning next week under a three week sampling exercise targeting at least 2 000 households, a Cabinet Minister has said.
All along, returning citizens and high risk groups were the only ones being tested for the disease.
Zimbabwe has recorded over 500 cases of the deadly virus, the majority being imported cases from countries including South Africa, Botswana and the United Kingdom.
Local cases, although they are still low, are also beginning to increase, raising fears that the virus could be spreading in communities without authorities realising it.
In light of that, government has decided to broaden the Covid-19 testing area.
“The Ministry of Health and Child Care will conduct a three week survey beginning 29 June, 2020 to determine the level of Covid-19 infection in our populace,” Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said.
“The exercise will entail a national cross-sectional sero epidemiological survey in the estimated sample size of about 2 000 households with an average size of five members across the nation.”
Mutsvangwa said government was determined to win the fight against Covid-19.
“All District, Provincial and infectious diseases hospitals are able to admit patients with mild to moderate symptoms who cannot self isolate at their homes,” she said.
Meanwhile, Mutsvangwa said preparations for the re-opening of schools were advanced, with face masks and sanitisers already in place.
She said adequate safety measures were also being put in place for June examination candidates.
“Universities have donated 10 000 litres of sanitiser which are adequate for use by the 800 examination centres throughout the country. Furthermore, treasury has availed funding for the drilling of boreholes and purchase of infrared thermometers.”
To assist Zimbabweans living and working abroad with travel documents, she said government would release funding for passport processing to resume.
She said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade was engaging banks to set up a ticket-loan facility which will enable students stranded in foreign countries to buy air tickets to return home.
“Families in Zimbabwe would be able to borrow money from such a facility to purchase one way tickets.”