About 200 nurses countrywide have been infected with the novel coronavirus due to the government’s failure to provide adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) to the health frontline workers.
The majority affected by the virus are student nurses who have been manning public hospitals in the absence of qualified nurses who have been on strike for the past 34 days.
Nurses embarked on job action demanding US dollar salaries, improved working conditions and adequate PPEs.
Zimbabwe Nurses Association president Enoch Dongo on Tuesday said the spike in the number of health workers who have contracted COVID-19 is attributable to lack of PPEs. He said:
About 200 nurses have tested positive to COVID-19.
It is saddening that there is an increase in the number of nurses who are testing positive for COVID-19.
This goes to what we have been saying all along that the inadequate PPE is exposing frontline health workers to this deadly virus.
Dongo added that all nurses including those on probation should withdraw their labour to safeguard their health. He said:
We are worried that without adequate and immediate intervention, the few nurses who continuously decide to subsidise the government by going to work are going to be ravished by the COVID-19 virus.
To this end, all nurses including those on probation are advised not to continue to go to work and to withdraw their labour. This is no longer an issue about remuneration only but it is also about their health.