The Ministry of Health and Child Care says it has tested the local people in Victoria Falls for coronavirus (COVID-19) after they made contact with the United Kingdom tourist who visited the resort town and tested positive in her country.
Their results are expected today.
The UK tourist arrived in Victoria Falls on the border with Zambia on March 7, and reportedly stayed at Ilala Lodge where she engaged in several outdoor events organised by Wild Horizons, before going down with a fever.
Reports indicated a local doctor who saw her told her she was probably reacting to anti-malaria medication and the ministry has confirmed she was not tested for COVID-19 as she did not meet the World Health Organisation (WHO) definition of a suspected case.
She then left the country March 10 for South Africa.
In an update statement, the health ministry said through the Provincial Medical Directorate, they have followed up all the UK tourist’s contacts including “the staff at the private clinic, hotel staff an staff and Victoria Falls hospital to put them under self-quarantine and intensified surveillance.”
The ministry has taken samples from the locals to test for COVID-19, were a report on the outcomes of these results is expected today.
According to the ministry, the UK tourist was “attended to by a private practitioner in Hwange District on March 9, with respiratory symptoms (cough, chest pain difficulty in breathing) and was referred to Victoria Falls as a suspected case of COVID 19.”
However, upon assessment by the local Rapid Response Team on admission at Victoria Falls hospital, “did not meet the WHO case definition of a ‘suspected case’ and therefore was not tested,” said the health ministry.
“She was instead managed as a case of Pneumonia, recovered and departed for Kruger National Park in South Africa on March 10 before proceeding back home to the UK. Upon return to the UK, a COVID test was conducted and tested positive.”
The country still has no confirmed cases of COVID-19 save for suspected cases that include a Bulawayo woman who travelled to South Africa for medical attention and returned to Zimbabwe – March 9, has been placed under self-quarantine together with her family after a patient treated by her South African doctor tested positive for COVID-19.
In Harare, two other people, one who travelled from China and another from the United Kingdom are now in isolation at Wilkins Hospital in Harare.
Results for the three cases are expected to be released today.
To date, 26 African countries have confirmed cases of COVID-19 with four in SAC member states, South Africa, Eswatini, Namibia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Of these South Africa has reported local spread of COVID-19.