Zanzibar adds 15 more cases, taking tally to 299

25Apr 2020
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Zanzibar adds 15 more cases, taking tally to 299

CASES of novel coronavirus infections in the country reached 299 yesterday after Zanzibar announced confirmation of 15 new ones.

Minister for Health in Zanzibar Hamad Rashid Mohamed.

A statement released by Minister for Health in Zanzibar Hamad Rashid Mohamed said the total number of confirmed cases in the Isles reached 98.

Before this announcement, total cases in Tanzania stood at 284 with 10 fatalities as of Wednesday.

“All the patients are Tanzanian nationals; ten live in Unguja while five live in Pemba,” the minister noted.

The government has set 13 isolation facilities in the Isles where 892 patients and suspected carriers were being quarantined as of yesterday. Some 632 suspects who were in quarantine have been released after 14 days elapsed and the tests conducted came out negative.

Ummy Mwalimu, the minister for Health, Community Development, Gender, Elderly and Children yesterday appealed to health workers to stop stigmatising patients with coronavirus or symptoms associated with the disease.

Speaking in Dar es Salaam, the minister said she was aware of incidences whereby healthcare providers give a wide berth to patients or individuals suspected to have contracted the disease.

“This emerging tendency is contrary to health care provision guidelines and ethics; health workers are not supposed to abandon patients,” she said.

Mwalimu said she understands the stigma may be informed by fear of contracting the contagious disease but warned that for health for workers to avoid patients is both unethical and contrary to ministerial guidelines.

Health workers can remain safe while attending to patients by adhering to the national infection prevention and control guidelines for health care services ssued in June 2018 as well as the Covid-19 management guidelines of January this year, the minister intoned.

But Medical Association of Tanzania (MAT) President Dr Elisha Osati said yesterday that health workers are not adequately provided with personal protective gear as they work to save lives of patients.

“I want it to be known that as of now, personal protective equipment is the main challenge for heath workers. We request the government and other stakeholders to assist with the same,” said the MAT leader in a tweet.

Reports of patient neglect by health workers first emerged on Thursday after Covid-19 patients reportedly rioted at the Amana Hospital in Dar es Salaam which is a designated facility for the disease.

The Wednesday night incident was confirmed by reports that Ilala District Commissioner Sophia Mjema who added that authorities were checking with guards at the facility to find out if claims that some patients managed to flee were true.

The minister said yesterday that there were a total of 108 patients who did not show any signs of illness, with 37 who had completed their required testing discharged.

“Those who remain at care centres are waiting for final test results and those who are found to be free of the virus will be immediately released,” she said.

As of yesterday, globally confirmed cases surpassed 2.7m with over 190,000 deaths and more than 750,000 recoveries.

There was some promising news from Spain, where the number of new coronavirus-related deaths dropped to the lowest daily level in over a month.

Some 367 people had died in 24 hours to take the total fatalities there to 22,524 by late Thursday, which remains the third-highest in the world. The number of new coronavirus cases rose by 6,740 to 219,764.

In the United States, President Donald Trump was fiercely criticised by the medical community after suggesting research into whether coronavirus might be treated by injecting disinfectant into the body.

In another development, US scientists have found that coronavirus dies the fastest when it is exposed to direct sunlight, though the relevant study cited has not yet been made public and awaits external evaluation.  

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