Several service providers and businesses have temporarily suspended operations to allow co-workers of infected staff to be tested while premises are being disinfected in line with Ministry of Health and Child Care guidelines.
Yesterday, a number of businesses and service providers — including OK Fife Avenue, OK Norton, OK Mbuya Nehanda, Pick n Pay Kamfinsa, The Avenues Clinic, National Social Security Authority (NSSA) and Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals — closed some units after some of their employees tested positive to Covid-19.
This decision was taken to ensure the rest of the staff and members of the public remained safe.
Briefing journalists after the meeting of the national taskforce on Covid-19, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said in the event that an employee tested positive, there was need to close the workstation and disinfect the premises.
“If an employee or another person in a work situation tests positive for coronavirus, then the employer should immediately close the work premises or station in question until it is thoroughly disinfected.
“The employer can only reopen the work premises or station after all other employees who were in contact with the positive employee have been tested for the coronavirus,” she said.
Another 192 Covid-19 infections were confirmed yesterday, 189 being local infections, taking the total to 2 704, and with two more deaths, fatalities have risen to 36, reports the Ministry of Health and Child Care in its daily report. Of the 2 704 total, infections within Zimbabwe now account for 1 675 with Bulawayo, with 667, and Harare, with 601, being the main centres of infection although Midlands now has 168 local infections.
The two new deaths were that of a 34-year-old woman and a 30-year-old man in Manicaland. Recoveries continue to rise and now total 542, meaning 20 percent of all those confirmed as infected have now fully recovered and can resume their normal life.
South Africa has now recorded 6 769 deaths and 265 077 full recoveries from a total of 445 433 confirmed cases, the fifth highest national total in the world.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CZR) president Denford Mutashu said closing retail outlets and other premises after staff members tested positive to Covid-19 was a noble idea, as it was in the interest of public safety.
Mr Mutashu said it showed that retailers were heeding Government’s call to follow regulations.
“It shows the light of the directive given by Government. The closure of shops is recommendable and is a containment measure. It is a necessary measure, which is done in conjunction with the Ministry of Health and Child Care,” he said.
TelOne started scaling operations down last Friday, including their head office, Runhare House and the majority of their client service centres. This was after one of their staff members tested positive to Covid-19.
“We have immediately implemented the necessary contact tracing and testing procedures working with the response team under the Ministry of Health and Child Care.
“The affected staff member reported sick on July 21 with symptoms consistent with those of Covid-19. Following our laid down Covid-19 case management procedures, the staff members were taken for screening. They were further referred for PCR testing, which confirmed the positive results today. The members are stable and isolated.
“All the team members who work in the same section as the affected staff members have begun a 14-day isolation and are going through testing,” read the statement.
Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals, which hosts the largest Covid-19 treatment and Care Centre in the country, in a statement posted on their Facebook page, said the hospital had escalated testing of both staff members and patients in both the Covid-19 Red Zone and the Non-Covid-19 Green Zone.
From June 9 when the Red-Zone centre opened to Saturday, 60 Covid-19 positive patients have been admitted.
“For the period under review, 70- staff members have tested positive for Covid-19, of which 64 are from the non-Covid-19 areas while six work directly in the Covid-19 centre.
“We have received eight deaths out of the 60 patients who were admitted in the red zone. Of the bodies brought in dead, 13 tested positive for Covid-19.
“Resources permitting, all patients should be tested for Covid-19 before admission into the wards. Those who test positive before admission should be admitted directly to the Covid-19 Centre,” read the statement.
The country’s largest referral hospital also took the opportunity to clear the air on the death of former RBZ director Norman Mataruka following reports on social media that the hospital failed to admit him.
“Mr Mataruke was referred to Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals Covid-19 Centre on the night of July 26, 2020. The patient was admitted into our Covid-19 Centre around 2300 on July 26. Our doctors and nurses did their best to resuscitate and stabilise the patient but unfortunately he succumbed to his illness around 0700 today, the 27th of July, 2020,” the hospital said.
Madzorera Clinic in Zvimba District has also temporarily closed after staff member tested positive. And the Chinhoyi branch of the Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council has temporarily closed for disinfection after two staff tested positive.PSMAS headquarters in Harare closed shop last week after a staff member tested positive
The Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara) said it was making arrangements to test all workers after two Members of Parliament, who were part of the Transport and Infrastructural Development Parliamentary Portfolio Committee that visited several tollgates across the country recently, had tested positive.
Parliament has since suspended operations following the development.
“Those found positive will be automatically quarantined. As a preventative measure, we are rigorously enforcing social distancing at all our offices. Further to that, we are operating with skeleton staff at all offices and ensuring that all Covid-19 procedures that include sanitisation and temperature testing are strictly followed,” read the statement.
The Avenues Clinic said it had to temporarily close its casualty unit to allow the hospital more time to carry out tracing, further staff testing and more extensive disinfection of the unit.
“However, all other hospital units are safe and shall continue operations during this period. We continue to be guided by clinical experts on appropriate measures to adopt for a safe environment,” said the hospital in a statement.
NSSA temporarily closed its premises at NSSA House in Harare from yesterday to allow disinfection of the building after one of its employees tested positive to Covid-19.
According to NSSA, the affected employee last visited the workplace on July 10.
NSSA marketing and communication executive Mr Tendai Mutseyekwa said NSSA was carrying out contact tracing to facilitate testing for those who may have been in contact with the affected employee.
“The implementation of a decongestion programme has seen the authority operating at one third of its staff complement.
“Management has, however, resolved to implement the necessary precautionary measures. The authority’s offices are safe and shall continue to operate under the Ministry of Health and Child Care Covid-19 guidelines,” said Mutseyekwa.