Fiona Ruzha, H-Metro Reporter
ZIMBABWE laboratories have the capacity to test for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus following Ministry of Health and Child Care’s assessment of some health institutions in the country.
Speaking during the tour at Sally Mugabe Central and Wilkins Infectious Diseases Hospital yesterday, Minister Obadiah Moyo confirmed that the existing machines which test several micro-organisms could also be used to conduct tests for the deadly virus.
The country has previously relied on laboratories in Kwa-Zulu Natal in South Africa to test for coronavirus but the machines housed at the National Health Laboratory Services have made it easier for it produces 96 test results in two hours.
Dr Moyo said they were in need of kits for rapid testing which takes 15 minutes.
“We have all the relevant instruments for testing including the reagents.
“Besides that we are sourcing kits for the rapid testing which will enable us to detect the virus within 15 minutes.
“We have identified and acquired the novel coronavirus kits. That is why we are here. So now we are in the process of acquiring the rapid test kits,” he told said.
Last week, Deputy Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Zhao Baogang, reiterated the need for the Zimbabwean government to continually work with China in combating the virus with China promising to provide the rapid test kits.
Dr Moyo said they did not have a time frame as to when the rapid test kits would arrive.
“The rapid test kits will come from China with the Embassy of China identifying for us where we can source them.
“For now we have got these PCR ones which can still be used for the identification of the coronavirus,” he said.
Meanwhile, as of yesterday, 1267 people from Robert Mugabe International airport were screened while 384 at Victoria Falls International Airport and 126 at Victoria Falls border post.