Zimbabwe confirms first Covid-19 case

Zororo Makamba

The Herald, March 21, 2020 

ZIMBABWE last night confirmed its first Covid-19 case, a foreigner living in Victoria Falls who appears to have been infected in Britain, but who acted responsibly on his return to Zimbabwe this week by quarantining himself as a returning traveller from an affected country and then continued isolating himself when he felt ill. 

Minister of Health and Child Care Obadiah Moyo announced the first confirmed case saying the foreigner had travelled back into Zimbabwe from Manchester, United Kingdom but that the patient had been identified in timely fashion. 

He urged the nation to remain calm and practice best hygiene as his Ministry continued tracing all contacts. 

“Today, 20 March, 2020, National Microbiology Reference Laboratory at Sally Mugabe Central confirms that a suspected case of Covid-19 had tested positive. This is the first case of Covid-19 in Zimbabwe. 

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“The patient is a 38-year-old Caucasian male and resident of Victoria Falls who had travelled to Manchester, United Kingdom on 7 March and returned to his home in Victoria Falls on 15 March via South Africa. 

“After arrival he put himself in self quarantine at home as per our advice that all travellers from Covid-19 affected countries. On realising that he was not feeling too well he contacted his medical practitioner by telephone advising him that he had a persistent cough and sneezing. 

“The general practitioner alerted the local Covid-19 rapid response team from the Ministry of Health and Child Care who immediately went to assess him and recommended that he continues with self- isolation at home. 

“Specimens were also collected and ferried to reference laboratory for testing and continued with self-isolation at home and he is showing signs of recovery after some positive management at home. 

“As a result of our preparedness we managed to identify this first case in a timely fashion and ensure that he was appropriately managed. Our teams are now being assisted by the patient himself. The nation be calm as we deal with this case of Covid-19 in Zimbabwe. 

“Let us continue with good personal hygiene,” he said. 

LESSONS FOR TODAY 

 Tomorrow marks one year since Zimbabwe’s first new coronavirus case was confirmed. 

 Following reports by the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission in China about “a cluster of cases of pneumonia”, on January 5, 2020 the World Health Organisation reported the first disease outbreak news. 

 On March 23, media specialist and socialite Zororo Makamba, son to business mogul James Makamba was the first person to succumb to Covid-19-related complications. 

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 To date, more than 1 500 people have succumbed to Covid-19. These are people from all walks of life: Cabinet ministers; ambassadors; journalists; MPs; captains of industry and others. 

 Africa has so far recorded three million cases and over 75 thousand deaths. South Africa has the highest number of cases (1,5 million); and 51,6 thousand deaths. 

 The global cases so far stand at 121,8 million and 2,6 million deaths.  

 The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in major upsets in normal life. Apart from following strict protocols recommend by WHO, Covid-19 has disrupted economies through lockdowns. 

 Lockdowns have resulted in serious economic challenges: company closures, gender-based violence and mental health issues.

HERALD