Govt to set up isolation centres for frontline health workers

By Fortunate Muzarabani

Government is working on setting up isolation facilities for frontline health workers to prevent them from being in contact with their families at a time when they are dealing with COVID-19 cases.

This was said by Acting Bulawayo Provincial Medical Director Dr Welcome Mlilo while addressing journalists at Mpilo Central Hospital during a tour of the COVID–19 testing lab by Minister of Local Government, Housing and Public Works July Moyo, who is also part of the Covid-19 Ministerial Taskforce.

He said the accommodation facility was not going to cater for rapid response team members only, but all frontline health staff who were potentially in harm`s way.

“This is not peculiar to the Rapid Response team. This is for most frontline workers, including staff at this lab, staff who will be manning Thorngrove hospital, staff at Ekusileni. So Government is setting up isolation facilities for the healthcare workers such that we will protect their families because these healthcare workers will be coming into contact with COVID-19 cases,” said Dr Mlilo.

Dr Mlilo could not be drawn to say when the facilities will be ready but highlighted that the centres will be ready for occupation soon.

Recently, Bulawayo Town Clerk Mr Christopher Dube during a tour of Thorngrove hospital also highlighted that dilapidated unoccupied staff cottages at the hospital must be renovated so that health staff can occupy them and use them when at work, to avoid multiple trips home thereby reducing risks of infecting their families with the novel virus.

This development comes at a time when one of Bulawayo COVID-19 patients on self-isolation at home has reportedly broken self-isolation rules and travelled to Gweru.

Dr Mlilo however said he was not at liberty to discuss the matter during the meeting, saying he would be better positioned to share details at a later time as he said the matter was still developing.

He however said security details will be engaged to help in dealing with the matter.

“I am not at liberty to discuss the whole case now. We are on the matter but this is a developing story and is something still fresh. It will not be prudent of me to share all the information at this time. The security services are part of the Rapid Response Team so such individuals will be followed up. The Public Health Act is there, the Civil Protection Act is there. We are leaving no stone unturned to protect the public. The public must be responsible and not expose other people to such risks, and they, must be answerable should they do” he said.

Meanwhile, Minister Moyo said his primary reason for the latest visit was to assess the water situation in Bulawayo in light of the water crisis in the city.

He called for councils to respond to the COVID-19 in a manner that does not take way the livelihoods of people in the informal sector.

“The lockdown has affected our people in terms of vending, in terms of SMEs. Whatever we are doing, let us not go back to our old ways. Let us improve our cities but do this in a manner that does not take away food from the ordinary vegetable vendors,” said Minister Moyo.

The minister said ZINWA was working to increase the water volume of water pumped from the Nyamandlovu from three to 20 mega litres.

“I came to look at the water situation in Bulawayo. We are trying to augment water systems in Bulawayo as the city is running out of water. We are trying to drill more boreholes at the Nyamandlovu aquifer so that we increase from the current three mega litres to twenty mega litres. We want to increase the first aquifer to ten from three and then then start pumping from a second aquifer another ten. ZINWA has been given money to drill more boreholes so that we start pumping seven more soon.

“Bulawayo will lose 59 mega litres of water when Lower Ncema Dam is decommissioned at the end of May. So these works to put in place alternatives is being done rapidly as we try to chase the timelines,” added the Minister.

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