Zimbabwe is running low on Covid-19 testing commodities amid reports that the country records about 81 cases daily.
According to the Ministry of Health and Child Care weekly Covid-19 report, the country needed 15 000 viral transport media and an equal number of PCR reagents per month. At the moment there is only 10 percent of stocks.
These commodities include chemicals needed to run tests and containers to put specimens used when conducting and processing Covid-19 test and results. There are three types of tests available globally and used in Zimbabwe for Covid-19 which include polymerase chain reaction (PCR), antigen, and antibody (serology) testing.
PCR and antigen tests detect whether a person is currently infected, and serology detects whether a person had an infection in the past.The report shows that there is a low supply of GeneXpert cartridges which will not last for a month. Zimbabwe recorded the first case of Covid-19 on March 21.
“Testing was decentralised to improve on the turnaround time but frequent shortages of testing kits and reagents have slowed down the progress made. The number of PCR tests done decreased with average tests for the week standing at 1 240 as compared to 1 946 from the previous week. We also reported a decrease in the positives this week (890) as compared from the previous week (2 280),” read the report.
However, the ministry said at the moment there is no back log across all testing labs in Zimbabwe as all people who tested have received their results. In the past seven days, the country recorded 58 imported cases, of these 40 were from South Africa and 18 from Botswana.
About 19 countries contribute to the tally of imported cases with South Africa contributing 82.3 percent of the cases.
“South Africa continues to contribute significantly to the number of imported cases. The implementation of the cabinet directive on the 18th of August that permits immigrants who have a negative PCR test upon arrival to be quarantined at home under the supervision of the local Rapid Response Team will be fully implemented once testing capacity at points of entry has been optimized.”
The report also reads: “Matabeleland South and Masvingo provinces are the only provinces that have reported more imported cases than local cases. Matabeleland South has two borders namely Beitbridge and Plumtree where most returnees proceeding to other parts of the country have been diagnosed with Covid-19.”
According to the Ministry, as of 28 August 2020, local cases constituted 80.7 percent of the total Covid-19 cases reported in the country.
“Local cases have been reported in most parts of the country. The figures show that there is a significant number of cases that are of the unknown source of infection and more of these cases are in Harare and Bulawayo provinces. The country is now in community transmission,” said the Ministry.
Health workers account for 84 percent of the frontline workers reported to date. Investigations are underway to determine if the working environment for health workers has contributed, in any way, to these infections.
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