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PROMISE TRACKER: Did the govt conduct 40 000 COVID-19 tests?

Claim: Government will conduct 40 000 tests for Covid-19 by end of April 2020

Was the target achieved?

According to the recent reports by the Ministry of Health and Child Care, Zimbabwe has conducted 11 647 screening and diagnostic tests as of May 3  2020. From the tests, there are 34 positive cases, 5recoveries and 4 deaths.

CITE spoke to Effie Ncube the Citizens Covid-19 Monitor communications manager, who said that government failed to achieve its target as it underestimated the task of testing 40 000 countrywide.

“The government needs more people, equipment for testing and more importantly political will,” said Ncube.

“We still need more testing to be done in the country, the government received funds from international donors and they use it to acquire equipment that can increase the number of people tested.”

Source

On the 17th of April 2020, during a tour at coronavirus facilities in Bulawayo,  Vice President Kembo Mohadi stated that he had set a target for the Ministerial Task Force to conduct 40 000 tests for Covid 19 by the end of April. 

The VP had also stated that the government was distributing rapid results equipment and Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) machine for confirming results so that each and every province does the tests and also sends it for confirmation.

Was it possible to test 40 000 by the end of April?

In an article published by CITE, Secretary-General for the Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association (ZHDA)  stated that conducting 40 000 tests was possible if the government carried out more rapid tests instead of limiting testing only to those who would have shown symptoms of the virus.

“If the government runs rapid tests then the figure may be attainable but if they need to do diagnostic tests then we have a challenge,” said Dr Bhebhe.

Meanwhile, President Mnangagwa recently announced the re-opening of industry and commerce during the lockdown extension effective Monday, May 4 2020. All employees and employers are to undergo mandatory testing.  

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