Twenty-five Zimbabwean legislators have tested positive for COVID-19 in tests done last week, including nine who had already tested positive four weeks before and have been counted as recovered, the government-controlled Herald newspaper reported Wednesday.
Members of Parliament (MPs) are now worried that recovered people can still be counted as positive because of the presence of antibodies in their systems.
Matabeleland North MP Ruth Labode, who is a medical doctor, on Tuesday raised a point of privilege on Parliament’s testing and isolation policies.
“My concern is that 25 MPs tested positive and among those, there were about nine or so who had already tested positive four weeks ago and isolated,” she said.
Parliament guidelines require that MPs be tested after every two weeks and those who test positive, immediately go into isolation for 14 days.
Labode argued that some people who would have earlier tested positive would likely retain a positive result because of the presence of antibodies in their systems even though they were no longer infected or infectious.
Therefore, there was no need to continue isolating such people, she said.
However, Clerk of Parliament Kennedy Chokuda said Parliament was being cautious in keeping those who had earlier been confirmed positive in isolation.
“We have decided that all those who test positive be isolated out of an abundance of caution and we will continue following up on them and assisting them,” he said.
The first two legislators to test positive were diagnosed in July and Parliament immediately suspended business for a month and only resumed sitting last week when all MPs were tested.