FULL TEXT: Govt Speaks On Coronavirus ‘Patient’ Who Fled From Wilkins Hospital

Ministry of Health and Child Care CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) UPDATE: 9 MARCH 2020

The Ministry of Health and Child Care continues to be guided by and follow World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines and advice on COVID-19 surveillance, follow up and case management.

The latest case referred to Wilkins Infectious Disease Hospital as a suspected case is that of a 26-year old man who came into Zimbabwe on the 14th February 2020 from Thailand. He presented at Wilkins Hospital on the 8th March 2020 (more than 14 days after arriving from Thailand), as a referral from a private institution where he had reported a 2-day history of cough (mainly at night), fever and sneezing.

On admission to Wilkins, he did not meet the WHO case definition of a suspected case but was still earmarked for a COVID-19 test due to intensified surveillance that the country has adopted.

The patient was therefore screened but absconded before testing was done. Follow up efforts to his home address were initiated and a police report was made.

  • According to WHO a suspect case of COVID-19 is defined as; A patient with acute respiratory illness (fever and at least one sign/symptom of disease (e… cough, shortness of breath), AND with no other aetiology that fully explains the clinical presentation AND a history of travel to or residence in a country/area or territory reporting local transmission of COVID-19 disease during the 14 days prior to onset of symptoms.


  • A patient with an acute respiratory illness AND having been in contact with a confirmed or probable COVID-19 case in the last 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms;


  • A patient with a severe acute respiratory infection (fever and at least one sign/symptom of respiratory disease (e.g., cough, shortness breath) AND requiring hospitalization AND with no other aetiology that fully explains the clinical presentation.

The Ministry would like to assure the nation that to date, there is NO confirmed case of COVID-19 in Zimbabwe. Preparedness measures continue to be stepped up with the training of health care workers from the Southern region currently taking place in Kadoma.

The Ministry would once again like to advise the public to exercise good personal hygiene (frequent washing of hands with soap and water, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing etc). This is one of the best prevention measures for COVID19.

The ministry would also like to advise the public to be guided by its COVID-19 Situation Reports (SitReps) that are issued frequently to avoid being misled by unofficial reports. The Ministry SitReps provide accurate and detailed COVID19 updates for all.

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