Zimbabwe’s fight to slow down the spread of the novel coronavirus has been jeopardised by revelations that close to 200 health workers at Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo were recently placed in self-isolation after four people who include a nurse, had tested positive for Covid19.

According to reports, the second biggest city’s Rapid Response Team (RRT) identified a total of 197 out of more than 2 000 health workers who were at a high risk of contracting Covid19 after conducting contact tracing.

The infected nurse is said to have contracted the virus due to interactions with one of the Covid19 patients at the hospital while the three other recorded cases included an outpatient and two patients admitted to the hospital.

file… Zimbabwean nurses

The 197 medical staffers whose 14-day self-isolation process is expected to end on Thursday have, quite fortunately, all tested negative for Covid19, state media reported.

The hospital has since been fumigated as a mitigatory measure and the self-isolating health workers’ resumption of duties solely depends on the outcome of the impending retests.

“(The contact tracing by the RRT) resulted in 197 health workers going in self-isolation at their homes including the nurse who was asymptomatic,” said Mpilo Central Hospital acting chief executive officer Dr Solwayo Ngwenya.

Mpilo CEO Dr Solwayo Ngwenya

“So far all of them have tested negative for the virus. They are in self-isolation for 14 days and are supposed to complete process on Thursday. I guess we can say we were very lucky to have escaped this one,” he said.

Dr Ngwenya emphasised the importance of abiding by the set Covid19 laws as the scare at Mpilo could be a precursor to the impact which the virus will have on the county’s health sector.

“If hospital staff get degraded and are unable to cope with the rising numbers, at the end of the day people will not have anyone to look after them. So, it’s extremely important that people follow lockdown regulations, wear masks properly otherwise failure to do so could cripple the health sector.”

Meanwhile, health authorities on Sunday said three more Covid19 cases were recorded in the country, bringing the cumulative number of positive cases to 282. The three new cases consist of two returnees who were in South Africa while the other patient has a South Sudanese-traveling history. Zimbabwe has been on national lockdown since March 30.

State Media
Additional Reporting: Zwnews