Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) secretary-general Dr Norman Matara said most people are contracting the coronavirus in the quarantine centres because they are not being tested early and results are also delayed.
Dr Matara also bemoaned the mixing of people with unknown statuses saying this promotes the spread of the virus in the quarantine centres. He said:
We can say that most people at the quarantine centres are contracting the virus from there. Not all of them arrive with Covid-19.
People are just being mixed – old comers and newcomers. They are not being grouped accordingly and this may be one of the ways that the centres are always recording new positive cases daily.
Dr Matara urged the government to abandon Rapid tests for screening and diagnostics and to conduct polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for all inmates on the first 1st and 8th days to prevent infection within the centres. He said:
Another issue is the testing kits. We have been advocating for the PCR test on the first and eighth day as it is more sensitive but the government has ignored that.
The World Health Organisation has clearly stated that the Rapid test should not be used for screening and diagnostics but we are still using it.
To many doctors, the test does not make sense because its results are not conclusive. The government simply needs to apply the gold standard and do the PCR test.
Zimbabwe’s new coronavirus cases are predominantly recorded in quarantine centres, with 27 people – all returnees from South Africa – testing positive for the virus on Sunday.