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3 private Covid-19 testing labs identified

by Staff reporter
06 May 2020 at 07:42hrs | Views
GOVERNMENT has urged companies to buy rapid test kits and arrange with designated testing facilities for their employees to be tested for Covid-19 with three private medical laboratories in Bulawayo having been identified to offer the service.

Premier Service Medical Investments, Lancet Laboratories and Cimas Medical Laboratories were approved by the Ministry of Health and Child Care for rapid Covid-19 testing in Bulawayo.

The service charges for Covid-19 testing range from between US$25 and US$65 per person for both rapid and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing and companies are the ones meeting the costs. Prior to the latest development, Mpilo Central Hospital National TB Referral Laboratory was the only approved Covid-19 testing centre in Bulawayo.

President Mnangagwa announced last Friday that Government was moving to level two of the national lockdown yesterday, where businesses in the formal sector are allowed to resume operations under stipulated World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines. He said the reopening of industry and commerce was premised on mandatory testing of employers and employees with a number of facilities, both Government and privately owned, now approved for rapid testing.

President Mnangagwa said companies should arrange with designated Covid-19 testing facilities to ensure their employees are tested before they resume operations. In a statement, Health and Child Care Ministry Permanent Secretary Dr Agnes Mahomva said Covid-19 testing for workers is mandatory.

"As announced by His Excellency, the President E D Mnangagwa the reopening of industry and commerce during the lockdown extension effective 4 May 2020, is premised on the mandatory testing of employers and employees. The Ministry has put in place a plan to ensure immediate implementation of this policy," she said.

Dr Mahomva said to expedite the testing process, companies are encouraged to procure the rapid test kits for themselves, guided by the Ministry in terms of test kits specifications. "Employers must arrange with the designated testing facilities (public and private) for their employees to be tested at the agreed time at the facility or at the work place," said Dr Mahomva.

She said companies should ensure that they have adequate social distancing space and facilities for infection prevention and control. Most companies in Bulawayo failed to reopen yesterday as they were yet to comply with the Government directive.

Bulawayo provincial information officer, Ms Miriam Chigonde, who chairs the provincial taskforce information and publicity subcommittee, said local companies were at liberty to engage the three laboratories and work out plans on how to conduct the testing sessions for their workers.

"Companies can also make their own procurement of rapid test kits and solicit the services of health agencies like the New Start Centre and the Bulawayo City Council health department to speed up the process," she said.

Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe president, Dr Israel Murefu, said although employers welcomed the decision to have workers tested, the concern from their members was they would not be able to shoulder the costs given that they had not been operating due to the lockdown.

"We were trying to find out the modalities for testing, how it is done and at what cost and the general concern from our membership is that the cost is borne by employers. We are saying since this is a national disaster, Government should come in and carry the cost particularly taking into account the fact that businesses were not operating," he said.

Source - chronicle