Zimbabwe care worker tests positive for coronavirus after returning to New Zealand

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BULAWAYO – A Zimbabwean care worker has tested positive for coronavirus after returning to New Zealand, officials in the Australasian country said.

The woman, whose age was not provided, returned to Auckland from Harare on March 10.

She worked night shifts at the Ellerslie Gardens Lifecare facility for old people on March 15 and 16 but was later advised to stay at home and see a doctor after she reported having a headache.

“She’s now resting at home after her positive diagnosis and doesn’t require hospital care,” the New Zealand news service, Newshub, reported on Sunday.

Norah Barlow, the chief executive officer of Heritage Lifecare who own the old people’s home said all 11 residents of the home who were in contact with the affected staffer had been isolated as a precaution and the facility put under lockdown. Staff members had also been isolated and will be tested.

“This is obviously a concerning time for the residents and our team and we are providing them with appropriate support,” Barlow said.

Until March 20, Zimbabwe maintained that it had no coronavirus cases – but in the same period two other people who departed Zimbabwe for the United Kingdom and Namibia tested positive after arriving in those countries. The New Zealand positive diagnosis would be the third such known incident.

On March 20, Zimbabwe announced its first coronavirus case – a 38-year-old Victoria Falls resident who was recently in Manchester, England. A day later, authorities confirmed a second case – a Harare man who returned from New York via South Africa recently – and said a third of a Chinese doctor who has made trips to South Korea, New York and Tanzania, was “inconclusive” and requires further testing.