BULAWAYO councillors yesterday underwent COVID-19 testing, with all the city fathers testing negative for the virulent disease which has infected 34 and claimed four lives in the country.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
Mayor Solomon Mguni said they took the COVID-19 tests not only as a way of encouraging residents to do the same to fight the spread of the disease, but to prepare for resmption of full council business.
“We have to lead by example,” Mguni told Southern Eye.
“It’s is a response to the health regulations of the partial lifting of the lockdown … It means before we resume normal council business, we need to know the COVID-19 status of all our staff.
“There are no two ways about that. We need to run the council, but also being informed about the health implications of having meetings without knowing our status.”
The COVID-19 rapid diagnostic antibody tests were conducted at the Large City Hall.
Antibody tests, also called serology tests, show who has been infected and recovered.
The body makes antibodies in response to many illnesses, including COVID-19.
Research shows that while antibody testing has been a pillar of many governments’ strategies, there are worries about the accuracy of the tests, particularly rapid testing kits.
In April, the World Health Organisation (WHO) issued a warning, saying there was no evidence serological tests can show whether a person has immunity or is no longer at risk of becoming re-infected.
“These antibody tests will be able to measure that level of serology presence, that level of antibodies, but that does not mean that somebody with antibodiesis immune,” Maria van Kerkhove, head of WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, was quoted saying.
According to the WHO recommendations, timely and accurate COVID-19 laboratory testing is an essential part of the management of COVID-19 for slowing down the pandemic, supporting decisions on infection control strategies and patient management at healthcare facilities, and detecting asymptomatic cases that could spread the virus further if not isolated.