The government is set to start a door to door COVID-19 testing exercise to curb the spread of the deadly pandemic, Health minister Dr Obadiah Moyo has said.
In an interview with a local publication, Moyo yesterday said government was hoping to decentralise the COVID-19 testing exercise before they can embark on an aggressive door-to-door campaign that would be informed by the rate at which cases would be soaring.
“We are in the process of decentralising the whole process. Currently, we have the kits for PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing and the PCR is the definitive testing used to detect early infections,” said Dr Moyo.
“However, while it is being done just in Harare, the Ministry of Health has already entered an agreement with National University of Science and Technology (NUST) so that their equipment can be used at Mpilo, where there is a level three laboratory.
“After that, we will then increase the number of testing sites in Harare and then eventually go countrywide. This will be done in the shortest time possible,” Dr Moyo added.
He added that in exposed areas like Beitbridge, rapid testing will be the way to go.
“For rural areas like Gokwe, if a patient shows signs of the disease we have the rapid response team that is in every province and those teams will attend to any case,” said Dr Moyo.
He poured cold water on reports that the country is using defective testing kits saying they are using the definitive golden standard which takes five hours to produce results.
“The only reliable testing that is taking place in the country is being carried by the government and not private hospitals. As government, we are using the golden standard which is definitive, although this takes five hours for results to show,” added Dr Moyo.
“We hope to get more testing kits so that we come up with results early,” Dr Moyo added.
Zimbabwe is currently under a 21-day lockdown gazetted by President Emmerson Mnangagwa to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Only nine people have tested positive to coronavirus from around 300 tests done in the country.
There are growing concerns that the number of people who have been tested is too low compared to other countries such as South Africa.