Second coronavirus suspect isolated at Wilkins Hospital

Joseph Madzimure and Elita Chikwati, Harare Bureau

A SECOND case of suspected coronavirus has been put under isolation at Wilkins Hospital while tests are being conducted.

Harare City Council Health Services director Dr Prosper Chonzi confirmed that there was a suspected case of a Chinese national who had been taken to the isolation facility.

“Yes there has been a suspected case of a person travelling from Hunan, China, who has been put under isolation facilities.

“A Chinese national arrived in Zimbabwe this afternoon (yesterday). At the time of arrival people thought the traveller had symptoms of corona virus. We picked the person at the Robert Mugabe International Airport and isolated the traveller. As we speak the traveller is admitted at Wilkins Hospital under isolation while investigations are being carried out.  We are waiting for the results and the traveller is in a stable condition and is not showing any symptoms or fever.

“We have to follow protocol as ascribed by the World Health Organisation and adopted by the Zimbabwean Government.

The first suspected case involved a 27-year old Harare woman who was suspected to have contracted the disease after visiting Wuhan, China.

The suspected patient was coming from another province.

When there is rumour of a suspected corona virus case, we investigate,”  said Dr Chonzi.

The Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services yesterday afternoon tweeted a statement on the matter: 

“Government would like to inform the public that today, a traveller from Hunan Province in China was flagged up as needing assessment for corona virus. Full WHO Protocols were deployed. The traveller has now been taken to designated Isolatiossn Facilities where tests are being conducted.”

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), coronaviruses belong to a family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

 The virus is highly contagious and there is no cure for corona virus as with most viral infections.

So far, only experimental treatments have been used in China with success in stabilising patients.

An ARV, Kaletra (ritonavir and lopinavir) has been used.

 Corona virus symptoms include pneumonia, high fever, flu like symptoms, chest pains, diarrhoea and shortness of breath.

Precautions include covering the mouth when coughing or sneezing, washing hands the same way as people do when guarding against cholera and typhoid.

 Although Zimbabwe is located thousands of miles away from the source of the corona virus, it remains at great risk considering the volume of traffic the country gets from China for tourism and business.

Zimbabwean and Chinese authorities are encouraging travellers between the two countries to either delay or cancel unnecessary journeys to stop the spread of the novel corona virus (2019-nCoV), which has killed 81 people in the Asian country from 2 886 confirmed cases of infection in the past month.

Surveillance systems in Zimbabwe have also been activated with special focus being put at the main ports of entry and exit — Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, Joshua Nkomo International Airport and Victoria Falls and Beitbridge ground ports.

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