BULAWAYO – A 54-year-old Bulawayo man has become Zimbabwe’s nineth person to succumb to the coronavirus, officials confirmed on Monday.
The unnamed man was admitted to thew PSMI Hospital in Hillside on Sunday, but died within hours.
“He had no history of travel and had no comorbidities,” the ministry of health said.
There were 18 new positive tests reported on Monday, including two local transmissions bringing the total number of cases to 734. Of that number, 197 have recovered.
Meanwhile, the ministry of health says it is adopting new World Health Organisation guidelines which will see more people being passed as “recovered” – even when tests show they are still positive.
Zimbabwe had been following an earlier WHO recommendation to confirm clearance of the virus, which saw people being forced to self-isolate for an average 21 days. This required a patient to be clinically recovered, that is show no symptoms, and to have two negative Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) results on samples taken at least 24 hours apart.
Under the new approach, WHO says patients who show no symptoms 10 days after symptoms onset, plus at least three additional days without symptoms including fever and respiratory troubles, should be considered as having recovered.
For asymptomatic cases, that is patients who test positive but show no symptoms, recovery is confirmed 10 days after the initial positive test for Covid-19.
Explaining the changes the chief coordinator of the National Response to the Covid-19 pandemic Agnes Mahomva said the new guidelines will help them close cases in which patients have gone for more than a month still indicating as positive.
“If you are asymptomatic but you are positive, which is a large percentage of people we are testing as returning residents, you can be discharged after 10 days without retesting as long as symptoms don’t show,” said Mahomva.
Those who show symptoms early on and recover after 10 day will be kept for another three days to confirm they have no fever and breathing problems before they can come out of isolation.
“This is fantastic because we have had patients who are not patients. They’re just patients by virtue of being positive but they’ve been like that for a long time. The elements of the virus, the ribonucleic acid, that remains in them is low. It is not viable to be transmitted to others,” said Mahomva.
Mahomva, however, warned that those who are released from isolation and their families had to continue to exercise caution.