Zim Govt Asked To Explain Meaning Of ‘Screen’ And ‘Test’ In Its Coronavirus Updates

The Africa correspondent for The Globe and Mail (Canada), Geoffrey York, has requested that Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health and Child Care explains the wording it is now using in its daily coronavirus updates.

York noted that the Ministry previously referred to the number of “tests” done on a particular day but since April 16, it has been referring to “screening and diagnostic tests” as if the two are one. He tweeted:

Beginning April 16, the Ministry’s daily reports switched to a new phrase: “screening & diagnostic tests.”

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Previously they said “tests.” But screening is different from testing. Can you explain the new wording, please? Are some people screened without testing?

… I’m really hoping for a clear explanation of the new wording. It coincided with a big jump in the number of people who were tested, except that now it reflected the number of people “screened and tested.” Is that the same thing as “tested”, or is it now a different criterion?

Responding to York, Farrellin Rubaba said screening is done to qualify one for testing. She wrote:

My clinical guess, diagnostic testing is being done on all individuals returning from oversees, regardless if asymptotic, which is great.

Screening is done to qualify you for testing, i.e symptoms. If so and are a high candidate for testing, then testing will commence.

However, York was not convinced with the explanation as he insisted on wanting to know why the government is mixing figures of two different categories. Said York:

Yes. But my question is why they are mixing “screening” and “testing” in the same category. They should be two separate numbers, to allow more accurate comparisons.

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