Coronavirus: Zim Case 1 not fully recovered

The Ministry of Health and Child Care is waiting for the latest results from the country`s first COVID-19 case to determine if he has recovered fully from the virus.

Zimbabwe now has 18 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including three deaths and one recovery.

But the country’s first COVID-19 recovery is not the first coronavirus case reported in Victoria Falls on March 20 of a 38-year-old man who had travelled to Britain.

Case 1 had travelled to Manchester – March 7 and returned to his home in Victoria Falls on March 15 via South Africa.

After arrival, he put himself in self-quarantine following government advice to all travellers from COVID-19 affected countries.

When he realised he was not feeling well, he contacted his medical practitioner by telephone advising him he had a persistent cough and sneezing.

His doctor alerted the local rapid response team who assessed and recommended that he continues with self-isolation at home.

In an interview with CITE, Matabeleland North Provincial Medical Director, Dr Purgie Chimberegwa, said although Case 1 had clinically recovered, test results had to confirm if he had fully recovered from COVID-19.

“He had mild case of the virus, so we only gave him supportive management to treat his mild headache. Remember the coronavirus has no cure so we gave him paracetamol. But clinically he recovered a lot but we are waiting for epidemiological results. If one were to see him, you cannot say he is someone who has COVID-19, unfortunately, he can’t be seen as he still in quarantine,” said the medical director.   

The PMD said after Case 1 self-isolated himself, officials had to wait for 21 days then took two samples to check whether he has recovered by testing negative.

“But one of the tests came back positive. He went back to self-isolation and we waited again for seven days,” he said.

Dr Chimberegwa said after the seven days elapsed, other samples were taken on Tuesday and the results were expected today (Wednesday) or tomorrow (Thursday).

“The results have to show he is negative and the samples tested in the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machine, which confirms if there are any active traces of COVID-19. We cannot take the rapid antibody test as one can remain positive even after testing negative under the PCR. So the PCR shows one would have recovered if they test negative, which was the case that happened with the UK visitor who infected some cases in Bulawayo,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Chimberegwa said all cases of confirmed COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Harare, through the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, and urged members of the public not to spread fake news relating to unconfirmed cases of the virus.

“Confirmation of cases only comes after testing and the results are given out by the Permanent Secretary who gives daily updates that are then provided by the Ministry of Health and Child Care.”

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