By Nyashadzashe Ndoro
Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Parliamentary Chief Whip, Prosper Mutseyami has questioned the government on why Zimbabwean borders are still open to visitors from China in light of the deadly coronavirus which has killed over a thousand people there.
Speaking in parliament on Tuesday Mutseyami asked Health Minister Obadiah Moyo on government’s preparedness to deal with the deadly virus.
“We want an update on challenges and preparedness on coronavirus. We understand that other countries such as Russia and Australia have closed their borders to Chinese nationals to avoid the spread of the virus.
“Why is Zimbabwe still allowing Chinese visitors in the country? This issue needs to be addressed as soon as yesterday. So can we have a ministerial statement on that,” asked Mutseyami.
On his microblogging Twitter handle, Hopewell Chin’ono yesterday urged government to take coronavirus seriously and to not only rely on travel advice from China but to close borders for its visitors.
“Whilst the rest of the world understands the seriousness of the CORONA Virus. The Zimbabwean Government is relying on travel advice from the Chinese Embassy, and not providing State quarantine or stopping travel from China! This is putting the whole country into deathly danger!” Chin’ono said.
Speaking at the post cabinet briefing, Information and Publicity minister Monica Mutsvangwa said government has medicines for the treatment of the virus.
Mutsvangwa dismissed the suggestion of closing borders for visitors from China, citing they would be subjected to self quarantine for a 21-day.
“The Government of Zimbabwe has agreed with the Government of the Republic of China that these travellers be subjected to self quarantine for a 21-day surveillance period, in order to ensure early detection of symptoms.
“The main treatment centres will be situated at the Wilkins Infectious Diseases Hospital for the northern part of the country and Thorngrove Infectious Diseases Hospital for the Southern region.
“The National Microbiology Reference Laboratory (NMRL) was assessed and found to have good testing capacity and is adequately equipped. Medicines for treatment have been identified locally and will be strategically positioned at the treatment centres,” Mutsvangwa said.
On Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) officially re-named the disease from coronavirus to COVID-19.
“COVID-19 stands for coronavirus disease in 2019,” said Soumya Swaminathan chief scientist at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, at a press briefing. Nehanda Radio