The Sunday News
Robin Muchetu, Senior Reporter
ZIMBABWE is set to increase testing capacity for Covid-19 through the use of GeneXpert machines which are found in all provinces.
GeneXpert machines ordinarily test for Tuberculosis but can be capacitated to test for Covid-19.
In a statement on Tuesday, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Cde Monica Mtsvangwa said the move will increase the capacity of the country in dealing with the virus.
“Our knowledge about Covid-19 continues to improve, so does our capacity to respond to the pandemic. The Subcommittee reported that several provincial sites have been trained to manage the GeneXpert machines, whose functionality have been increased so that they can also test for Covid-19. The GeneXpert machines will increase the country’s testing capacity,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa said that provincial sites will have the capacity to use the machines to test for Covid-19.
Minister Mutsvangwa also said Governmnet will unfreeze more than 3700 health posts as part of the Covid-19 response plan.
She said the local capacity for the production of face masks, hand sanitizers, and other Personal Protective Equipment continues to increase and this has had a great impact on access and affordability of the PPEs.
She said the country was still receiving returning residents who had been domiciled outside Zimbabwe.
“As our citizens come home, they are required to adhere to the laid down regulations that include screening, testing and quarantining. These measures are there to protect their loved ones here at home. We cannot run away from the fact that a greater number of our positive cases are from returnees,” she said.
Furthermore, she acknowledged the critical role traditional leaders play in the dissemination information to rural communities.
“This information dissemination role has been key in raising awareness on Covid-19 and ensuring adherence to the protective and preventative measures in these communities,” she said.
She said traditional leaders will be mobilising their communities in the apprehension of returnees who abscond from quarantine centres and those who returned home through illegal crossing points.