Conrad Mupesa Herald Correspondent
Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital has started conducting Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) confirmatory tests for Covid-19 using the gene expert machine.
The tests, which commenced this week, saw five tests being conducted and all coming out negative.
Speaking during a visit by 12 Chinese experts on Covid-19 at Chinhoyi Provincial Hospital, the hospital’s superintendent, Dr Collet Mawire, said they received cartridges of the gene expert machine from the Government.
“We have since started offering PCR confirmatory tests following the acquisition of gene expert machine cartridges,” he said. “Only five tests have been done so far as from Tuesday and all of them came out negative.”
Dr Mawire said the testing facility will help de-congest Harare’s national biological laboratories, while at the same time reduce the time taken to conduct the tests.
Rapid testing, he said, had been and will still be conducted as the first line of screening suspected cases.
Speaking to The Herald after touring the institution with the Chinese experts and provincial taskforce on Covid-19, Minister of State for Provincial Affairs and Devolution for Mashonaland West, Mary Mliswa-Chikoka, said the visit by the Chinese gave the province knowledge on how to curtail the spread of the virus.
She said although the team had managed to rise to the occasion following confirmation of the Mhondoro-Mubaira case, which also resulted in the death of Gogo Nguni, a lot of work was needed to be done to arrest further spike in the number of new cases.
“The experts, through their presentations, gave us feasible solutions to the key challenges that may end up bringing more cases,” she said. “There is need for continuous monitoring of traffic, improved screening and testing and introduction of a number of recommendations that came from the experts so that the province is on a safe side.”
Minister Mliswa-Chikoka said as a measure of controlling the spread of the virus, quarantine centres for Kariba and Mhondoro-Ngezi were on cards, following the setting up of other centres in the other five districts.
Provincial Epidemiology Disease Control officer Dr Gift Masoja, who was standing in for the medical director, said the quarantine centres were not ideal considering that they were being established at schools.
He said apart from shortage of personal protective equipment and lack of piped oxygen in the isolation centre, the province battled to contain the spread of the disease.