Coronavirus: Zim records second death…no diagnostic facilities in the provinces

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GOVERNMENT on Tuesday announced the eleventh COVID-19 positive case and recorded the second death after the patient succumbed to the disease on Saturday in Bulawayo.

Case number eleven has all but exposed the nation’s greatest fears: lack of preparedness by government to curb and test suspicious cases in the provinces.

According to the Ministry of Health and Child Care, the deceased was aged 79 and he first consulted his doctor on March 23 complaining of cough and fever.

“The eleventh case is a 79-year old male resident in Bulawayo.

“He presented to a general practitioner on the 23rd of March with a history of cough, sore throat and fever.
“When he did not improve on oral antibiotic treatment, he presented to a local hospital on April 2.

“At the time of admission he presented sore throat fever and difficulty in breathing.

“He had no record of travel history but highlighted that he visited Hwange national park as a tourist between March 14 and March 16.

“He was therefore admitted for clinical management as a case of bacterial pneumonia with underlying morbidity,” stated the Ministry.

The circumstances surrounding his death puts the government’s state of preparedness under the microscope.

As has been reported by Zim Morning Post, government has failed to provide testing equipment to the country’s ten provinces as it is focussed on Harare.

Harare became the government’s priority after the death of journalist Zororo Makamba.

Reports show that Harare alone already has three well equipped covid-19 isolation centres while nothing has been done in the provinces.

Testing of suspicious covid-19 samples is only done in Harare, a move which is a threat to curbing of the virus in the event of a full blown outbreak.

The results for case eleven took five days to be released and the tests had to be conducted in Harare, owing to the absence of diagnostic facilities outside of the capital city.

The Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) on Tuesday lamented over government’s lack of preparedness and exposing frontline medical workers to the disease.

“The inability to diagnose on time means the medical personnel who attended to him were exposed as they had no PPEs,” read part of statement.

The doctor’s body further lambasted government for neglecting minimal focus to areas and districts outside of Harare.

“The deceased was treated at a private hospital which was not an infectious diseases hospital or designated COVID-19 care centre,” further reads the statement.

Meanwhile, a Bulawayo based doctor stationed in Qalisa, claimed to have attended to the deceased and said he wore protective clothing.

He further claimed that the City Health department had refused to test him until he exhibited symptoms and he was waiting for private testing by Lancet Laboratories from Harare.

The deceased is survived by wife Lindsay (77), who is believed to be in good health.

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