Cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe's capital escalates; 21 dead - Newswatch

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 CHOLERA President Mnangagwa has urged all residents of affected areas to exercise extra care with hygiene

Image Text CHOLERA President Mnangagwa has urged all residents of affected areas to exercise extra care with hygiene

Government has banned public gatherings as it seeks to contain the deadly cholera outbreak that has now claimed 21 lives and reported in more than three suburbs in Harare.

"The Zimbabwe Republic Police wishes to inform members of the public that in light of the declaration of the state of emergency, the police in Harare will not allow any public gatherings", Charamba said in a statement. "This will enable us to contain the cholera, typhoid and whatever is going on, to get rid of the problem as quickly as possible", Moyo said Tuesday while visiting areas most affected by the outbreak in the city.

Cholera outbreaks have occurred regularly in the city as authorities struggle to provide potable water and sanitation facilities.

"The newly-elected government must learn from its predecessor's mistakes and take action that stops people dying from preventable diseases", said Amnesty's Jessica Pwiti.

The main opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa, had planned to hold a rally on Saturday where he may take a mock presidential oath, three weeks after President Emmerson Mnangagwa was inaugurated following a court decision upholding his disputed election victory.

"The current cholera epidemic is a bad effect of Zimbabwe's failure to invest in and manage both its basic water and sanitation infrastructure and its health care system".

"There are now 3,766 cases".

Tests on water samples from some wells and boreholes showed the water was contaminated with cholera and typhoid-causing bacteria. He said, "It's an ancient disease, which has been eliminated in many parts of the world".

He said the high number of cases in Harare has forced the government to declaring an emergency in the capital.

"But no lessons were learned from the 2008 epidemic, and the outbreak and deaths we're seeing now is symptomatic of a still-broken sanitation infrastructure and poor sewer management, worsened by shortages of drugs and medical supplies".

WHO is supporting the Ministry of Health and Child Care to fight the outbreak by strengthening the coordination of the response and mobilizing national and global health experts to form a cholera surge team.

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.