Zimbabwe Preparedness and Response Plan: Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19)

1. Background

1.1. Overview of COVID-19 outbreak

On 31 December 2019, WHO received a report of a cluster of pneumonia patients in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. One week later, on 7 January 2020, Chinese authorities confirmed that they had identified a novel (new) coronavirus as the cause of the pneumonia. The virus was named 2019‑nCoV, later renamed COVID-19.

WHO Director General convened meetings of the International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee on the outbreak of novel coronavirus (n-CoV) on the 23rd and 30th January 2020. Following the recommendation of the IHR (2005) Emergency Committee, WHO Declared the outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on the 30thJanuary 2020. In line with recommendations issued by the IHR (2005) Emergency Committee, all countries were urged to prepare for containment, including active surveillance, early detection, isolation and case management, contact tracing and prevention of further human-to-human transmission of the virus. All countries were urged to share full data with WHO. The committee did not recommend any travel or trade restriction based on the epidemiological information available at the time.

The IHR (2005) emergency committee recommended to the global committee to continue to demonstrate solidarity and cooperation, in compliance with article 44 of the IHR (2005), particularly in supporting the identification of the source of the new virus, its potential for human-to-human transmission and research for developing necessary treatment. The global community was urged to provide support to low- and middle-income countries to enable their response to the outbreak as well as to facilitate access to diagnostics, potential vaccines and therapeutics.

All continents of the world have now reported confirmed COVID-19 cases. As of 16 March 2020, a total of 169,387 cases had been reported from 148 countries. China accounts for 48% of all the cases reported globally (81,020 cases).

1.2. Overview of Zimbabwe’s 2020 National Preparedness and Response Plan for COVID-19

The Government of Zimbabwe through the Ministry of Health and Child Care took immediate action to enhanced preparedness to respond to COVID-19 outbreak. The first actions were taken on 24 January 2020 in response to the recommendations of the 23 January 2020 IHR (2005) Emergency Committee meeting. These activities included the development of a national preparedness and response plan for COVID-19.

The overall goal of Zimbabwe’s national preparedness and response plan is to minimize morbidity and mortality resulting from COVID-19 and associated adverse socio-economic impact in Zimbabwe while strengthening national core capacities under IHR (2005). The plan includes prevention, containment and mitigation strategies in line with the different COVID-19 transmission scenarios. The implementation of the priority activities in this plan are expected to contribute to overall health systems strengthening.

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Source: Ministry of Health and Child Care