Coronavirus: Panic grips western suburbs amid reports of 19 contacts under tracing

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PANIC and anxiety has gripped residents in the Western suburbs of Harare following information that the Harare City Health department is tracing at least 19 contacts in the area, Zim Morning Post can report.

The information was contained in a leaked conversation between Harare City Health medical practitioner Michael Vere and an unidentified nurse believed to be stationed at Rutsanana Polyclinic in the district.

This has put residents on high alert and improve adherence to social distancing.

This reporter could overhear discussions of fear between residents who were queuing for subsidized mealie-meal at OK Zimbabwe Glen Norah B branch on Thursday.

“We have a total of 19 contacts being followed up in Western District. A Confirmed case (name withheld) who stays in Bluff Hill has four contacts in Glen Norah C (address withheld). Seven more contacts of him are in Glen Norah A (address withheld),” noted Vere in the leaked conversation.

He further instructed the nurse to attend to patients exhibiting respiratory symptoms outdoors in tents.

“Patients with respiratory symptoms must be consulted in tents and not in rooms. For those who need screening refer them to Wilkins,” he said.

The unidentified nurse advised Vere that panic had gripped residents and resultantly witnessing an increase if patients traffic.

“I think health promotion (sic) should come in as soon as possible to give information and awareness campaign to prevent further spread because a lot of people are now visiting the clinic, some for STIs and they don’t comply with social distancing, even at the maternity ward they want to all gain access during visiting hours,” the nurse lamented.

This publication understands that the COVID-19 confirmed case in question travelled from the United Kingdom and had interactions with his relative who are Glen Norah residents.

Zim Morning Post spoke to the nurse over the phone and she refused to identify herself referring the reporter to the clinic.

“Mukuwasha (sir) if you want medical attention go to the clinic, not over the phone,” she said before abruptly cutting off the line.

Efforts to get in touch with Vere or the city health services director Prosper Chonzi were fruitless at the time of writing.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe has recorded three deaths in eleven cases translating to a case fatality rate of 27 percent as of Day 10 of the national 21-day lockdown pronounced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa last week to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

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