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国际英语新闻:Zimbabwean vice president assures nation of adequate hospital facilities to cater for COVID-

Source: Xinhuanet    2021-01-16  我要投稿   论坛   Favorite  

HARARE, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean Vice President Constantino Chiwenga on Friday assured the nation that there are enough hospital facilities to cater for COVID-19 patients for the time being.

Chiwenga, who is also the Minister of Health and Child Care, said contrary to reports on social media, there were enough hospital beds to cater for patients and these would be increased if need be.

"It would be, however, an exaggeration at this stage, to suggest that our health institutions are overwhelmed by cases of COVID-19. Admittedly, the recent escalation of cases of the pandemic in the country caused a high demand for health care.

"Nonetheless, let me reassure citizens that Zimbabwe's public and private health institutions still have adequate capacity to offer health services to all patients," he said.

As of Jan. 14, the country had recorded a cumulative total of 25,368 confirmed cases, including 14,714 recoveries and 636 deaths.

At least 47 people died on Jan. 14, as the pandemic wreaks havoc among communities, while all the latest infections are local.

"In light of widely circulating reports alleging that there is a serious deficit of hospital beds, let me point out that these were 'embellished social media allegations by some pen-mercenaries'.

"However, if the need arises in future, my ministry may consider options of increasing facilities currently designated for COVID-19 or designate more hospitals to take in patients. In a worst case scenario, that has so far not manifested, all hospitals in the country may be directed to take in citizens affected by COVID-19," he said.

Chiwenga said among the active cases recorded so far, two to three percent warranted hospitalization with specialized treatment, at least 12 to 13 percent required discharge within two to three days of admission, while the bulk of 85 percent only required self-isolation.

Some administrative issues that had posed a gridlock in the smooth admission of COVID-19 patients in public hospitals had since been resolved, he added.

The government has since extended COVID-19 allowances which had been due to end in December 2020 as incentives to health care and frontline workers, civil servants and vulnerable members of society and provided the necessary personal protective equipment, he said.

He, however, hinted that the 30-day national lockdown imposed earlier during the month to flatten the curve could be extended if the rate of infections did not decline.

"There might not be any need of extending the 30-day national lockdown if the progression of the pandemic is tamed.

"However, let me warn my fellow countrymen that current statistics are indicating a marginal increase in new cases. The total confirmed cases continued to mount," he said, adding that the prevailing situation was posing a grave threat to public health.

On the issue of vaccinations, he said the government was following the development and dissemination of COVID-19 vaccines by other states with keen interest.

"Despite the observations made that other African, European and Asian countries had started rolling out vaccines, Zimbabwe adopted a measured approach, with experts interrogating all safety concerns.

"As soon as all technical and administrative obligations are met, Zimbabweans can expect to be vaccinated. The vaccination is going to be voluntary. Let me underscore that my ministry is doing everything possible to ensure that our citizens are safe from possible side effects of some COVID-19 vaccines, currently on the shelf," he said.

Chiwenga bemoaned lack of discipline among members of the public in observing lockdown measures, warning that security forces could be deployed to contain the situation.

"Honestly, would you require security forces to persuade you to conform to some of these basic guidelines? We are not interested in arresting our people; therefore, I urge you to reawaken internal discipline," he said.

He also said that the government was eager to enhance its testing capacity, which currently stands at 6,000 people per day.

On the use of traditional medicines and herbs to treat COVID-19, Chiwenga said it was possible that they could help, but there was need for scientific research to be done to ascertain their efficacy.

"The Ministry of Health and Child Care actually operationalized the Traditional Medicines Department, which is pre-occupied with researches in this area," he said.


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