Zimbabwe has shut down Wilkins Hospital, a Harare medical institution designated for infectious diseases, to “allow for renovations.”
The shutdown comes amid reports that doctors have withdrawn their services citing potential exposure to the novel coronavirus as they are working without protective clothing.
Speaking to NewsDay, Harare City Health Services Director Prosper Chonzi said that the facility had temporarily shut down for further renovations to meet international standards. He said:
The Chinese are still working on the renovations and so we have moved to Nazareth (Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital). Wilkins is still being renovated and will remain shut until the process is complete.
He added that the screening of patients for the virus was still being done at Wilkins Hospital, but nurses at the medical centre refuted the claim, saying all staff had deserted the centre.
The death of Zororo Makamba a 30-year-old journalist on Monday at the institution exposed the country’s ill-preparedness to contain the virus and authorities have since then been quickening the process of refurbishing the institution.
Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (Zhda) president Tawanda Zvakada said that doctors who downed tools were not on strike perse but were merely compelling the government to provide them with protective wear.