Leroy Dzenga, Harare Bureau
The Chinese government has urged its citizens visiting Coronavirus hotspots like Wuhan in Hubei province to suspend travelling back to Zimbabwe until the epidemic is contained.
Those that have already travelled back should go into self-quarantine for a fortnight to minimise the risk of spreading the virus.
Addressing the media at the Chinese Embassy in Harare yesterday, Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Guo Shaochun said China was making frantic efforts to ensure the virus did not spread to other countries.
“We have requested Chinese nationals coming to Zimbabwe to cooperate with quarantine measures at Zimbabwean ports of entry and issued four consular notices to provide recommendations for epidemic prevention,” said Mr Guo.
“We have called on the local Chinese communities and Chinese businesses and institutions to remind their members and employees who have returned to China for holidays to raise the awareness of prevention.
“Those who have returned to the most affected regions in China, such as Hubei Province, are advised to hold off coming back to Zimbabwe until the situation eases, to reduce the risk of bringing the virus to Zimbabwe.
“Those who have returned to Zimbabwe from the worst hit areas in China are requested to undergo a self-quarantine of two weeks at home, not to go to public places, offices or any gatherings.”
China has placed Hubei province, the epidemic’s hotspot, on lockdown, meaning only authorised personnel can leave or enter.
Since December last year, they have been battling the novel Coronavirus, identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan.
To date, 17 205 confirmed cases in Mainland China have been recorded and the death toll is at 361.
Outside China, 23 countries have recorded 146 cases, including one death.
Zimbabwe, through the Ministry of Health and Child Care, has already convened a joint Inter-Agency Coordination Committee for Health (IACCH) meeting or Emergency Preparedness and Response (EPR) taskforce.
The team is responsible for setting up priority areas in response to the coronavirus threat.
No cases have been reported in Zimbabwe.
Secretary for Health and Child Care Dr Agnes Mahomva said the ministry had stepped up the monitoring process by screening everyone coming from affected areas.
The surveillance team remains on high alert at all points of entry and health facilities.
“Our team is currently taking these people’s particulars such as their areas of visit, their temperatures, the duration of stay in Zimbabwe, and other details for surveillance,” said Dr Mahomva.
“The authorities, the health authorities in Zimbabwe know where these travellers are going and they check on them on a daily basis to ensure that they don’t develop symptoms and then give them the right information if they develop the symptoms.”