Coronavirus: Byo raises preparedness levels

The City of Bulawayo is now at an advanced stage in terms of strategising against a possible outbreak of Coronavirus in the city, an official has said.

Giving a report to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, Thursday, the city`s deputy director of health services Dr Khulamuzi Nyathi said the local authority has activated its rapid response plan.

Dr Nyathi noted the rapid response team has been provided with the required resources which will enable them to respond swiftly to any reports.

“The team is responding to all reports including rumours which circulate on WhatsApp. We have given this team a vehicle and adequate fuel to follow up on these reports. Wherever they do a follow up they record in ‘rumour logbook’ and provide a detailed feedback report to the health department,” said Dr Nyathi.

“We are coordinating from the health services department and are following some technical guidance from the Ministry of Health and Child Care following the updates that are being given by the World Health Organisation. The minister of health has since paid a visit to assess our progress.”

Dr Nyathi explained that in a bid to prevent visitors from outside to bring in the disease, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South provinces are thoroughly screening all people at their entry points and are providing the local authority with their details so that follow-ups can be made to ensure that no symptoms are developing.

This comes at a time when fear has gripped the country one person tested positive for Coronavirus in neighbouring South Africa.

Dr Nyathi added that in terms of case management, the council’s health staff has been oriented on how to move patients without fueling the spread of the virus.

“We have oriented staff members and other health practitioners at Thorngrove Hospital. We have been introspecting and identifying where we are still lacking in terms of preparedness. We have since planned on how workers are going to be conducting their duties and how patients are going to be moved as means of trying to minimise infection spreading,” he said.

“We have had meetings with Mater Dei hospital at the realisation that people who can afford to travel as far as China can afford private hospitals as well as private doctors hence us roping them in in the orientation sessions.”

Dr Nyathi implored the government to either provide the council with equipment to test for the virus or to avail resources to quickly transport samples from Bulawayo to Harare.

“As a city, we are incapacitated at the moment to run these tests but Harare already has the equipment, therefore, we appeal to the government to intervene on this issue,” he said.

“We have also have a logistics team which is assisting in terms of analysing where we are still lacking. We are doing our best to mobilise funds from within so that we can be able to buy priority items in cases of emergency. Where we cannot afford we have lobbied for support from the government.”

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