Government to test 33k people by April 30
THE Government has adopted a new Covid-19 testing strategy that will see all its employees reporting for duty during the lockdown period including health care workers both in public and private hospitals and the generality of people working and interfacing with communities undergoing mandatory testing.
In a letter dated April 14, 2020, which was copied to all provincial medical directors, hospital chief executive officers, city health directors and private hospitals, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Child Care Dr Agnes Mahomva said the new strategy for testing Covid-19 was approved by the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on Covid-19 chaired by Vice-President Kembo Mohadi.
The Ministry of Health and Child Care is targeting to test 33 000 people for Covid-19 across the country by April 30..
Testing will be done using PCR for both screening and diagnosis and rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) for screening purposes only.
“In order to achieve the required level of testing and therefore generate sufficient evidence for programming of the Covid-19 pandemic in Zimbabwe, a strategy for testing has been presented and approved by the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on Covid-19 chaired by Vice-President Kembo Mohadi.
“With immediate effect, the following groups of people will therefore be tested for Covid-19 and these include people who have been working during the lockdown and were interfacing with the community such as law enforcement agents, employees from service providers like retail business, petrol attendants and food outlet employees.
“The Ministry will use the RDTs and prioritise all Government employees in all provinces reporting for duty to be tested to allow us to get a mapping where positive cases/clusters are as they interface with community,” said Dr Mahomva.
All people above 60 years admitted in hospitals who have chronic illnesses that include asthma, hypertension, diabetes and heart diseases including those with influenza like illnesses in communities and hospitals will also be tested for Covid-19.
Dr Mahomva said all travellers coming into the country from affected countries in designated quarantine facilities will also be subjected to mandatory Covid-19 testing using RDT on arrival and PCR on discharge.
She said all contacts of confirmed cases regardless of not showing symptoms of the disease, including all patients admitted in hospitals for pneumonia and fever also fall in that category including the community around a cluster of cases.
“You are required to immediately dispatch teams to collect samples for testing individuals for the above categories.
“For further details, please contact, Dr R Simbi deputy director laboratory services on firstname.lastname@example.org or +263 772 143 357. Your usual cooperation is highly appreciated,” said Dr Mahomva.