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Government decentralises Covid-19 testing

by Blessings Chidakwa
30 Dec 2020 at 07:21hrs | Views
THE Ministry of Health and Child Care has decentralised Covid-19 testing to ensure the services are closer to the people and has so far approved 58 laboratories.

Twenty six of the labs are at Government institutions, 29 are private labs while three labs are being operated by non-Governmental organisations.

The move to decentralise and approve labs allowed to conduct tests come at a time Government is investigating a lab in Bulawayo that has been allegedly issuing fake Covid-19 certificates to individuals intending to travel to South Africa.

Zimbabwe reopened its land borders on 1 December and travellers are required to present Covid-19 certificates obtained within 48 hours.

Most laboratories charge around US$60 for the certificates and this has resulted in the mushrooming of scammers who are issuing fake certificates for as little as US$20.

Approved labs include those operating from district hospitals such as St Luke's in Lupane, Victoria Falls, Beitbridge and Plumtree. The approved list also includes Gwanda Provincial Hospital, Gweru Provincial Hospital and Thorngrove Infectious Diseases Hospital.

The testing has for a long time been centralised in Bulawayo and Harare, a development which affected turnaround time for results. Covid-19 samples from other eight provinces had to be taken to either Bulawayo or Harare for testing which resulted in the labs being overwhelmed.

Meanwhile, five more people succumbed to Covid-19 on Monday when 73 new infections were recorded countrywide.

The deaths were recorded in Bulawayo, Harare, Masvingo, Manicaland and Mashonaland East bringing the total number of deaths to 345. Of the new infections, 69 were due to local transmissions while four infections were recorded among returnees from South Africa and Mozambique with two cases each.

The country's Covid-19 total cases increased to 13 148 while 10 705 individuals recovered from the pandemic.

Zimbabwe has 2 089 recorded active cases and Harare has the highest number with 472 cases followed by Matabeleland South with 391 and Bulawayo coming third with 337.

In a statement, the Health Ministry said the updated list of approved Covid-19 testing laboratories was effective from December 28 this year.

"Any result from an unauthorised laboratory shall be regarded as fake or illegal and shall be dealt with in line with the provisions of the Health Professions Act," read the statement.

Source - chronicle