Friday, 21 September, 2018

Cholera outbreak: Zimbabwe police ban public gatherings

A patient inside a cholera treatment tent at the Beatrice Infectious Diseases Hospital in Harare on 11 September 2018 How will Zimbabwe's opposition navigate ban on public gatherings?
Delores Daniels | 15 September, 2018, 01:04

Zimbabwe's police said Wednesday that they are banning "public gatherings" in Harare in an effort to curb a cholera outbreak that has killed 21 people.

Police spokeswoman Charity Charamba said in a statement Wednesday that the ban aims to alleviate "the continuous spread" of cholera in the capital, where the government has declared an emergency.

He revealed that the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) is being engaged to stop vending in the epicenter until the outbreaks are contained and measures are put in place to ensure hygiene and proper sanitation to stop cholera outbreak.

The WHO said it was "scaling up its response" to contain the outbreak which it said was "expanding quickly in Harare" - a city of more than two million people.

Most towns and cities are facing massive water shortages, often caused by breakdown in pumps, power cuts and sometimes water purification chemical shortages, according to local media.

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Officials said some 1.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia were warned to evacuate, but it's unclear how many did. Across the state, more than 314,000 residents and businesses, mostly in eastern counties, were without power as of 6 a.m.

In December 2008, the Zimbabwean government declared the outbreak a national emergency and requested worldwide aid.

The ban came ahead of a planned rally by the opposition MDC party on Saturday at which it was due to hold a mock presidential inauguration of party leader Nelson Chamisa, who it claims was denied victory in the July 30 election due to fraud.

"There are now 3,766 cases".

Informal housing areas without running water have mushroomed, and basic infrastructure has collapsed due to years of neglect. He said, "It's an ancient disease, which has been eliminated in many parts of the world".

He said the outbreak occurred as a result of burst sewer pipes that contaminated borehole water and open wells that are used by residents.

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This comes after government on Tuesday declared the outbreak a state of emergency.

"It is appalling that in 2018, people are still dying of such a preventable disease", said Jessica Pwiti, director of Amnesty International Zimbabwe said in a statement.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who succeeded Mugabe, has pledged to tackle the current outbreak.

Cholera, a water borne disease, can be prevented by taking precautions such as washing hands thoroughly with clean water, only drinking water from safe sources and storing clean water in covered containers.

World leaders bid farewell to diplomat Kofi Annan
Anyekai Oddoye, who works in Ghana's cocoa sector, said he whispered a prayer as he passed his coffin and wished him well. Annan, a Ghanaian national and Noble peace prize laureate, died in a Swiss hospital last month at the age of 80.

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