FULL TEXT: MDC Questions The Govt’s Seriousness & Preparedness To Fight COVID-19 As Zim Records 2nd COVID-19 Death

The MDC has released the following statement questioning the government’s preparedness to fight COVID-19 after a 79-year-old man died in Bulawayo yet results of his specimens came out 3 days after his death.

The leading opposition party’s statement reads:

Second COVID-19 death in Zimbabwe.

We learnt with great sadness the passing on of case no. 11 of confirmed COVID-19 infection in the city of Bulawayo on the 4th of April 2020. This death gives us more questions than answers regarding our seriousness and preparedness for the COVID-19 pandemic. We have the following observations to make:

1. Local transmission of COVID-19 is now a reality in Zimbabwe, and a history of foreign travel to a country with COVID-19 should no longer be an important consideration when deciding who a suspect is, and who should be tested. This case had the cardinal symptoms of COVID-19 infection on 23rd March, namely sore throat, cough and fever. That should have been enough to trigger isolation and a visit by the Rapid Response Team, with samples for testing taken there and then.

2. Admission of the patient into a general ward, and then a general ICU, betrays gross lack of preparedness on the part of government. If this patient was admitted into a specialized isolation facility we expect the Ministry to tell that to the nation in clear terms, because it’s important.

3. Our health workers are still working without the necessary Personal Protective Equipment, and this is extremely worrisome. We are now dealing with a full fledged outbreak and we should not wait for mass fatalities to start acting. Our narrow window of opportunity to prepare is fast running out. How many health workers were exposed in this particular case?

4. Why are we hesitant to test suspects? Does government really have testing kits, adequate to meet this threat? We implore government to disclose exactly how many cases they can test now. Government needs to cry out loud to the corporate sector and to ordinary citizens at large if we have a shortage of test kits. By now we should be doing tests in the provinces, leaving the NMRL to be a confirmation centre, backed up by the regional collaborative laboratory in South Africa.

5. In summary, this case betrays gross unpreparedness for the COVID-19 outbreak, and speed of execution is essential if we are to prevent any further unnecessary loss of life, slow down community spread and protect our valued first responders, the health workers.
We urge government to do a thorough audit of case no. 11 and learn all the lessons that can be gleaned from it.

Dr H Madzorera
Secretary for Health & Child Welfare

Source: Facebook

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