Zimbabwe requires US$5,2 million to adequately prepare for coronavirus, amid indications that at least 741 people were now being monitored as more visitors or returning residents enter the country.
There has, however, been no suspected or confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country.
Some 643 visitors entered the country through the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, while 98 were screened at Victoria Falls International Airport.
Thousands others entered the country by road. The coronavirus outbreak has killed at least 811 people, almost all in China, and infected more than 35 000 globally.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo said the number of people under surveillance keeps increasing given the increase in visitors.
He was speaking at an inter-ministerial meeting on Zimbabwe’s reaction to the global outbreak last week.
“So far, the figures of the people who are entering the country from infected areas keep going up because we have a lot of travel taking place. Yesterday (Tuesday) we were talking of 506 visitors who are being monitored in the country and today (Wednesday) the figures have gone up, we are now at 741 people being monitored for coronavirus in Zimbabwe,” he said.
Minister Moyo, said he visited ports of entry including airports to have an appreciation of the country’s level of preparedness.
Deputy Director of Epidemiology and Disease Control in the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Dr Isaac Phiri, said the goal for Zimbabwe’s preparedness plan was to reduce morbidity and mortality.
“What we need to do is to specifically coordinate an effective multi-sector response, enhance surveillance at all levels for early detection. Also to improve case management and infection control. Increase levels of awareness and community participation in the prevention and control of the pandemic influenza. And also maintain adequate stocks and supplies,” he said.
He said they have come up with seven thematic areas needing funding.
“When we talk of thematic areas, we have seven of them. One thematic area includes screening and contact tracing of travellers where we will be using thermodetectors, so for the whole pandemic preparedness in the country we need US$5 222 434,” Dr Phiri said.
Dr Phiri said the country has activated the rapid response team requiring training at all levels at national, province, district, and sub-national levels.
World Health Organisation (WHO)country representative Dr Alex Gasasira said they are working with Government.
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) country representative Dr Laylee Moshiri called for a stop to unnecessary panic, but instead ensure raised awareness to reduce stigma.