Govt to roll out massive testing

Source: Govt to roll out massive testing | Newsday (News)

INFORMATION minister Monica Mutsvangwa yesterday said government was targeting to test a minimum of 1 000 people for COVID-19 in a single day.

BY DESMOND CHINGARANDE

Speaking during a post-Cabinet briefing yesterday, Mutsvangwa said government was rolling out massive testing for COVID-19 at various centres across the country.

“We are testing right now, but going forward, we are targeting 1 000-plus tests in a single day,” she said.

Mutsvangwa also said work at Wilkins Infectious Diseases Hospital was almost complete, while Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals is also preparing to handle COVID-19 cases in the shortest possible time.

“Cabinet expressed utmost gratitude to citizens, the corporate sector and co-operating partners for the support rendered both in cash and kind towards the fight against COVID-19. A total of $21 390 733,04; US$47 million and
R356 100 has been received to date, while pledges totalling $1 242 160 were made. On its part, government has disbursed $591 million to date towards the same cause,” she said.

This came as the Health ministry has instructed public and private hospitals to test for COVID-19 all admitted patients above 60 years old and all people who have been working during the lockdown period as part of their target to test 33 000 people by April 30.

In a circular to the public and private hospitals, Health permanent secretary Agnes Mahomva said her ministry needed to test more people and generate sufficient evidence for programming of the COVID-19 pandemic in Zimbabwe.

“All people above 60 years of age admitted in hospitals who have chronic diseases that include asthma, hypertension, diabetes and heart diseases must be tested,” she said.

“People who have been working during lockdown and were interfacing with the community that include law enforcement officers, employees from service providers like retail businesses, petrol attendants and food outlets employees.”

Mahomva said the ministry would prioritise all government employees in all the provinces reporting for duty to be tested to allow government to get a mapping of where positive cases are as they interface with the community.

“With immediate effect, all individuals fitting the case definitions, all travellers coming into the country from the affected countries in designated quarantine facilities will be tested using RDT [rapid diagnostic test] on arrival and on discharge, all contacts of confirmed cases regardless of showing symptoms of the disease and all cases of pneumonia must be tested,” she said.

The circular came after the High Court ordered the ministry to provide personal protective equipment to all healthcare workers and civil servants, saying they were vulnerable to COVID-19 since they interface with suspected cases.

The application to the High Court was filed by the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights, which was represented by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

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