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Zimbabwe declares cholera outbreak in capital city state of emergency

15 September 2018

M - Zimbabwe's government has declared a state of emergency in the capital Harare after 20 people died of cholera, CNN reports.

Public gatherings in Harare have now been banned in an effort to contain the spread of the bacteria.

The First Lady, Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa and two cabinet ministers have visited cholera patients at Beatrice Infectious Hospital in Harare following an outbreak that has so far claimed 21 lives.

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.

The outbreak is attributed to lack of clean water supply and poor sanitation in most Zimbabwean cities.

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He said the ban affects both day and night vending and in this regard, police will intensify patrols and surveillance in the Harare CBD and will be out in full force to ensure compliance with the government directive without fear of favour.

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.

Authorities say there are more than 3,000 suspected cases of cholera with some 45 confirmed.

Informal housing areas without running water have mushroomed, and basic infrastructure has collapsed due to years of neglect.

"As the government itself has now admitted, this is a national disaster which requires an immediate and effective response".

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The cholera outbreak, first detected in the township of Glen View outside Harare on September 5, has prompted the health ministry to declare an emergency in the capital.

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

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 worldwide health experts to form a cholera surge team.

UNICEF advised Zimbabweans to prevent the spread of cholera by regular hand-washing, drinking only safe water, washing food, cooking it throughly, and avoiding shaking hands.

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Zimbabwe declares cholera outbreak in capital city state of emergency