Tuesday 2021-01-26




By Zwelihle Sukati | 2020-05-23

Government has already tried and tested a cell phone app meant to put persons with suspected cases of COVID-19 under the radar.

This was disclosed by Minister of Health Lizzie Nkosi during a press briefing at Cabinet offices yesterday.

The minister let the cat out of the bag during a questions and answers session after addressing the media.

According the minister, the app would  be installed to the phone of the person suspected to have contracted coronavirus and has been placed in self-isolation. The app will also have a face recognition feature of the person being monitored and placed in self-isolation.

As there have been concerns that some individuals placed on self-isolation would skip out of the confined places to roam the streets, therefore, exposing others to the  virus –government has come up with this  strategy to be on the lookout of such persons.

“The issue of people roaming towns was very problematic because we would have difficulties in monitoring the movement of a person placed in self-isolation,” the health minister said. “However, there is now a tool that was tested yesterday (Thursday). This will be put on the person’s phone so as to track his or her movement.”

The minister said this device would then alert  the monitoring system in the event a case was moving out of bounds, as well as give his or her facial description. “It will not just alert us on the person’s exact location, but his or her physical identity,” the minister declared.

The minister said some suspect COVID-19  cases  would leave their places of confinement and move around as they target the times of the health officials’ visits. “This placed a lot of people’s lives at risk,” she emphasised.

 Nkosi also announced that the person who had been reported to have escaped isolation was tracked and found two weeks ago. He is currently at the Lubombo Referral Hospital. 

Director of Health Services Dr Vusi Magagula, in a separate interview after the minister’s briefing with journalists, confirmed  the new development .

“This app will not just come in handy  in tracing a case but also allow us to contact that person as well as vice versa,” Dr Magagula said, adding that this  would also decrease the frequent visits to be made in monitoring that individual’s condition. Meanwhile, the Mavuso Exhibition and Trade Centre is expected to also isolate those with mild symptom from those showing no symptoms at all.

Health minister clarifies location concerns

When  it is said that  many  COVID-19 cases have tested positive in Manzini it doesn’t mean the city.  The minister said the clarity was needed  because of the many concerns raised by people. 

“When we peak of Manzini cases we are referring to the city and surrounding areas like KaShali, Ngwane Park, Fairview, Matsapha Industrial Site, Ludzeludze, Eteni and surrounding areas,” Health minister Lizzie Nkosi said.

When announcing cases from Lubombo, it is means areas from Siteki town, Siphofaneni and surrounding areas.

 “When  referring to Pigg’s Peak it is means the town and Buhleni, while Hhohho is areas in towns, suburbs and Mvutshini. ”

Wear mask when breastfeeding

Mothers are urged to wear masks when breastfeeding to protect their babies from the novel coronavirus.

This was the advice of Minister of Health Lizzie Nkosi.  She said the fact that some people do not exhibit any COVID-19 symptoms does  not mean that they cannot transmit the virus and therefore all measures should to be taken to protect babies and the vulnerable elderly people.

“Even when someone walks to take a baby or a child, that adult must wear a mask and make sure that his or hands have been washed clean or sanitised,” the minister advised. “Children get infections from old people and it is also advised that when a person in the family isn’t feeling well that person must wear a mask even at home.”

‘People on ARVs do recover from COVID-19’

People on medication, whether for diabetes, high blood pressure or HIV, can still recover from COVID-19.

This, according to the Health minister, Lizzie Nkosi, was depended on a person taking all precautionary measures and medication to be in good health. “COVID-19 is not a death sentence. We have seen cases of people who are on ARVs recovering from the virus,” she pointed out.

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