Sikhumbuzo Moyo/ Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporters
HIGHLANDERS striker Prince Dube is among 82 Zimbabweans placed under surveillance for the deadly Coronavirus whose death toll in China now stands at more than 300 with more than 14 000 infections confirmed.
The Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr Obadiah Moyo, last week told a media briefing that 82 people were being monitored in Zimbabwe after entering the country from affected areas.
They however, have all tested negative.
Dube has been on trial with a Chinese second tier club Shaanxi Chang’an Athletic, which is based in Xi’an, about 785km from Wuhan, the epicentre of the deadly virus.
He was still in China when outbreak started and returned to Zimbabwe on January 21. Medical doctors that spoke to Chronicle on condition of anonymity, said the 22-year-old starlet has been on the surveillance radar since landing from China. He is however, showing no symptoms of the virus.
“He is on a 14-day round-the-clock surveillance. Everyone is on high alert but so far nothing serious has been detected. He is also aware of this and is taking all necessary precautions which is making everyone’s concerns less stressful,” said the doctor.
“Like what has been stressed by authorities, no one should be worried about this procedure and I want to emphasise that no Coronavirus has been detected in Zimbabwe and we remain on high alert.”
Bulawayo City Council director of health services Dr Edwin Sibanda confirmed that Dube is under surveillance for Coronavirus. He however, could not give detailed information, saying he was out of town.
“I can confirm that Highlanders’ striker, Prince Dube, who was recently in China, is under surveillance for Coronavirus. I don’t have much details as I am out of town,” he said.
Health authorities at Zimbabwe’s ports of entry have moved to reduce the possible spread of the deadly Coronavirus by screening visitors and monitoring threats.
Last week, Dr Moyo urged Zimbabweans not to panic over the virus as necessary surveillance and precautionary measures have been put in place at all ports of entry.
He said although no case has been detected so far in the country, Zimbabwe was on high alert as it takes a co-ordinated global response.
Dr Moyo said all 26 ports, eight of which are airports and 18 inland border posts, have screening facilities.
He said Zimbabwe was not at risk as it does not have direct flights to China and other affected countries.
Meanwhile, the number of suspected cases of Coronavirus recorded in neighbouring Botswana has risen to five.
Zimbabwe and Botswana share a common border and there is a lot of movement of travellers between the two countries.
In a statement, Botswana’s Ministry of Health and Wellness said the five suspected patients of Coronavirus who presented flu-like symptoms arrived in the country through Sir Seretse Khama International Airport (SKIA).
The first case was registered last Thursday at SKIA upon arrival from China on an Ethiopian Airlines plane.
“The Ministry confirms five suspected cases of Coronavirus presenting with flu-like symptoms since January 30, 2020. All the five suspected cases arrived at the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport (SKIA),” read the statement signed by the Ministry’s chief public relations officer, Ms Doreen F Motshegwa.
She said five suspected cases of Coronavirus were picked at different times and isolated at a designated health facility in Gaborone while waiting laboratory results.
The specimens were sent to the regional reference laboratory in South Africa.
“We wish to emphasise that these are suspected cases since they presented with symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection such as fever, cough, fatigue and headache.
“The public is advised to continue exercising precautions towards the prevention of Coronavirus such as personal hygiene,” said Ms Motshegwa.
She said the neighbouring country’s health authorities are closely monitoring the situation in consultation with the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The Coronavirus has since been declared a global emergency by WHO, as the outbreak continues to spread outside China, with a 44-year-old man in the Philippines having succumbed to the disease, making him the first known death outside China.
The man, a resident of Wuhan, China, the epicentre of the virus, died on Saturday after developing what officials called “severe pneumonia.”
According to the Chinese and WHO data, more than 2 000 new cases were recorded in that country in the past 24 hours, raising the worldwide total to nearly 14 380 as at yesterday.
According to WHO, the vast majority of the cases are inside China while about 100 cases have been confirmed in at least 23 other countries.
Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people and are commonly spread from an infected person to others through air by coughing and sneezing, close personal contact as well as touching an infected surface.
Symptoms include running nose, headache, sore throat, fever, short breaths or difficulties in breathing among others. — @skhumoyo2000 @mashnets