WATCH: Zimbabwe now able to test for coronovirus, cuts reliance on SA

By Jonisayi Maromo Time of article published Feb 12, 2020

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Pretoria – Zimbabwe is now able to test for and diagnose the coronavirus after obtaining the necessary test kits, local media reported.

Health minister Obadiah Moyo told journalists during a tour of Sally Mugabe Hospital in the capital Harare that the country would be conducting tests at the National Health Laboratory Services housed at the institution, the Daily News newspaper reported.

"The reagents are now in the country. We can now do the tests locally. We do not have to send to South Africa anymore," Moyo said.

"You can either test it through blood or nasopharyngeal swab. I was happy to hear that they can do quite a lot of samples in a short space of time."

Moyo said one of the machines could produce up to 96 results within two hours, adding: "We want to move further. We are sourcing for test kits that will enable us to get results within 15 minutes."

Zimbabwe initially relied on neighbouring South Africa to diagnose suspected cases of the coronavirus which emanated from China, as its laboratories were not equipped to do so.

China's ambassador to South Africa, Lin Songtian, was due to address journalists in Cape Town on ongoing efforts to stop the deadly disease from being imported into Africa, the mission said.

Chinese news agency Xinhua reported that 4,740 patients infected with the virus had now recovered and been discharged from hospital.

At least 744 people were discharged on Tuesday, including 417 in Hubei province, where the disease originated.

Data on Tuesday showed 1 113 people had so far died of the disease, while confirmed cases of infection had soared to 44,138.

African News Agency/ANA

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