WILKINS Hospital will immediately be cordoned off should the screening process of any single patient meeting the case definition for COVID-19 turns out positive, Harare City Council health services director Prosper Chonzi said on Monday.
“We will immediately cordon off Wilkins Hospital and close it should any screening and tests of any patient turns out positive,” Chonzi said.
The hospital is designated to receive patients who are displaying Coronavirus symptoms, and on Monday a 26-year old man escaped from the institution before the screening process was conducted.
According to Chonzi, the nurse and the doctor attending to the man in question were in the next room wearing protective gear and the patient vanished into thin air.
Chonzi said said the man had been sent to Wilkins after his temperature was recorded at 38.6 °C. Normal body temperature should be between 36.5–37.5 °C, and any reading above that is typical of patients with fever, one of the symptoms of the coronavirus.
“The patient arrived at the hospital in the company of his father and two other men, but they all disappeared before the screening process was conducted,” he said.
The matter has since been referred to the police who failed to locate the man from the two addresses he provided with the Immigration department when he entered the country from Thailand last month.
Chonzi however allayed fears, citing that the Coronavirus has an incubation period of 14 days , making it highly unlikely for an individual who flew in the country 19 days ago to carry the virus.
The coronavirus, first detected in China late last year, had killed over 3,888 people in over 100 countries with over 111,753 positive cases reported around the world as of Monday morning.
South Africa reported four more cases on Monday, bringing the total infections to seven.
The only other African countries to announce coronavirus cases are Nigeria (2), Togo (1), Algeria (17), Egypt (48), Senegal (4), Morocco (2), Tunisia (2) and Cameroon (2).