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Govt must investigate spike in COVID-19 cases

by Staff reporter
02 Jun 2020 at 09:31hrs | Views
Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) wants the government to investigate a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in quarantine centres where returnees are held for a mandatory 21 days.

In an application at the High Court represented by human rights lawyer Andrew Makoni, the doctors requested government to institute comprehensive investigations into the cause of spike in coronavirus cases at the Girls High School in Harare quarantine facility following tests conducted on May 24.

"The country has, in the last few days, witnessed rapid increase in positive cases of COVID-19, especially in quarantine centres, with the country recording 64 cases on May 25, 61 of which were in quarantine centres and another 17 on May 27 again were from quarantine centres," ZADHR secretary Norman Matara submitted in his affidavit.

"The 35 or so who tested positive at Girls High facility had been staying at the facility from May 12 and were only tested on May 24, 15 days after their first tests were carried out at the border."

He added: "There is high likelihood that few positive cases which went untested for more than recommended testing intervals infected others.

"There is an additional likelihood that this was due to the lack of segregated, sanitary and hygienic conditions with proper infection control and protection of all people in quarantine at the quarantine facilities."

The doctors said the conditions at the facilities were inadequate and exposed returnees to infection.

The doctors are now seeking a relief ensuring that social and physical distancing is maintained in all quarantine centres, to ensure quarantine facilities have continuous running water and functional ablution facilities.

"Quarantine centres must be regularly disinfected with approved disinfectants and ensure the screening and testing of the returnees on the 21-day mandatory quarantine subject to testing on first, eighth and 21st day," they submitted.

"At Gweru Polytechnic College another quarantine facility, it has been reported that returnees quarantined there complained of lack of social distancing, raising fears that this could fuel an outbreak of COVID-19 illness."

The Health ministry is yet to file its response.

Source - newsday