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Zimbabwe, Zambia step up Ebola surveillance

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ZIMBABWE and Zambia have strengthened surveillance at all entry points to curb the spread of Ebola which has killed 13 people in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

RICHARD MUPONDE
SENIOR REPORTER

Zambia’s ambassador to Zimbabwe, Ndiyoi Muliwana Mutiti, told Southern Eye that her government had installed fever-detecting equipment at all entry points with the DRC. Zambia’s Health deputy minister Chitalu Chilufya said his country was taking precautionary measures following the confirmed outbreak of the epidemic in northern DRC.

“We have started raising the level of alertness in our systems and strengthening surveillance, especially at those entry points we share with the DRC where there is an outbreak of an epidemic similar to Ebola,” Chilufya said.

On Monday afternoon, Zambia reportedly dispatched teams to install equipment, which include infra-red thermometers, to detect fever and screen people entering the country.

Zimbabwe tourism players in Victoria Falls said they were satisfied with the level of preparedness and were working together with health personnel deployed at the borders of Kazungula and Victoria Falls, including the Victoria Falls International Airport.

Employers’ Association of Tourism and Safari Operators president Clement Mukwasi said they were convinced that any person with symptoms of Ebola would be detected when they arrived in Zimbabwe.

“Health staff from the Victoria Falls Hospital has been deployed to monitor the airport and the two borders leading into Victoria Falls. Basically, they are checking on the visitors who are coming from the infected countries and do tests on them,” he said.

“They are also checking on those who once visited these countries and taking addresses of the places they are visiting to make follow-ups. So far we are happy with the level of alertness and as a tourist destination we are safe.”

DRC ambassador to Zimbabwe Mawapanga Mwana Panga reassured the Sadc region that the deadly Ebola virus would not spread to other countries as it was confined to the equatorial forest.

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