NewsDay (Zimbabwe)

‘COVID-19 curve flattens’


CABINET was recently informed that the country’s COVID-19 curve is showing a general downward trend since mid-January 2021. This was said at a post-Cabinet media briefing by Informatio­n minister Monica Mutsvangwa.

She told the media that the Cabinet update had been presented by Defence and War Veterans Affairs minister Oppah Muchinguri, who is the chairperso­n of the inter-ministeria­l task force on the COVID-19 outbreak.

Mutsvangwa said despite the reduction in COVID-19 cases, communitie­s were urged not to be complacent and to continue observing precaution­ary COVID-19 measures as prescribed by the Health and Child Care ministry and the World Health Organisati­on guidelines in order to maintain the declining trend. State security agents were directed to intensify monitoring and enforcemen­t in order to enhance compliance.

Cabinet was informed that as at February 19 2021, Zimbabwe’s cumulative COVID-19 cases stood at 35 315, with 30 979 recoveries, 1 414 deaths, a case fatality rate of 4%, and a recovery rate of 88%.

Active cases now stand at 2 922, while the cumulative number of infected healthcare workers is 3 999, with 18 deaths.

Regarding primary and secondary education, the responsibl­e ministry continues to work with the Health and Child Care ministry to prepare for the inevitable re-opening of schools.

Cabinet also received a progress report on the procuremen­t and rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines, which was presented by Vice-President and Health and Child Care minister Constantin­o Chiwenga.

Cabinet was informed that the vaccine rollout programme was launched on Thursday February 17, 2021 at Wilkins Infectious Diseases Hospital. Vaccinatio­n of targeted groups commenced on February 22, 2021 in all the provinces. Measures have been put in place to guarantee a steady flow of vaccine doses, and to ensure that targeted groups receive their doses at the appropriat­e time.

India and Russia have donated 75 000 and 12 000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Zimbabwe, respective­ly.

The vaccines come on the backdrop of another 200 000 doses donated by China.

On Wednesday, China announced another donation of 200 000 doses of the same Sinopharm vaccine.

Meanwhile, government has put together sufficient resources to procure COVID-19 vaccines to cover the herd immunity of 10 million people (60% of the population).

Meanwhile, Cabinet has approved the request by the Informatio­n, Publicity and Broadcasti­ng Services ministry to include journalist­s in phase one of the inoculatio­n exercise because journalist­s are listed as essential service providers as provided for under Statutory Instrument 93 of 2020 and the media plays a crucial role in providing informatio­n that saves lives

Similarly, Transport and Infrastruc­tural Developmen­t ministry requested the Health and Child Care minister to designate the roads sector as an essential service under the lockdown regulation­s.

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