Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
PLANS to decentralise testing for the Covid-19 virus received a boost yesterday following the arrival of more testing kits and equipment, as Government intends to test 40 000 people before the end of the month.
This was revealed by Vice President Kembo Mohadi to Cabinet yesterday in his capacity as chairperson of the ad-hoc inter-ministerial committee on Covid-19.
Presenting the 12th Cabinet Decision Matrix yesterday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa, said Cabinet noted progress in testing.
Some of the issues noted by Cabinet included the conducting of a total of 3 380 rapid results screening and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests as at 19 April 2020 and the receipt of 4 499 rapid results test kits from Namibia on 15 April which were subsequently distributed to provinces.
“Furthermore, 6 000 additional rapid results test kits have been procured through UNDP/Global Fund and Innscor, with each availing 3 000 kits,” Minister Mutsvangwa said.
“Ten thousand GeneXpert cartridges are expected into the country today (yesterday) with a further 20 000 GeneXpert cartridges being procured by Unicef to help in the rolling out of the testing for Covid-19 to provincial and district levels.
“Consignments of 18 800 extraction kits and some laboratory consumables were also received from Jack Ma and the World Health Organisation on 18 April.”
Minister Mutsvangwa said the partitioning of Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals into red and green zones was 95 percent complete, while the renovation of the Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital had commenced, with funding from Innscor.
Minister Mutsvangwa said Cabinet had also agreed that the testing programme would be expedited starting with frontline personnel.
“Cabinet also agreed that in order to meet the targeted 40 000 tests by 30 April, 2020 as directed by Cabinet, health testing units should be engaged to complement and/or bridge the personnel gaps that may arise in the Ministry of Health and Child Care; that as this is a State of Disaster, all workers be compelled to provide service as required and that the agreed risk allowances, insurance and other incentives be availed as per agreement,” Minister Mutsvangwa said.
Meanwhile, Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima said he would visit Belvedere Teachers College today to assess the situation following complaints by a group of Zimbabweans that recently returned from the United Kingdom that the living conditions were sub-standard.