COVID-19 cases decline but government preaches caution

Government efforts to curb the rate of infection from the COVID-19 virus are bearing fruit with cases dropping by almost 50 percent
Government efforts to curb the rate of infection from the COVID-19 virus are bearing fruit with cases dropping by almost 50 percent

Staff Writer

The number of confirmed COVID-19 has started decreasing with Zimbabwe recording an almost 50 percent decline while Cabinet has agreed to open Victoria Falls resort to fully vaccinated tourists.

Address the 25th post-Cabinet briefing in Harare, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the meeting was informed that the number of infections decreased slightly, with a  total  of  14  275  cases  being  recorded  during  the  week under review, compared to the 21 346 cases recorded the previous week.

This reflects a 49.5 percent decrease as Zimbabwe’s efforts to contain the pandemic showed a high-level of effectiveness.

“Nevertheless, Cabinet noted the need to strengthen efforts to contain the Third Wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.  As such, therefore,  the  Level  4  lockdown measures  remain  in  force,” she said.

Government ordered a Level 4 National Lockdown across the country reducing the number of workers at workplaces, imposing a 6:30pm to 6am curfew while business close at 3pm.

The national lockdown also bans inter-city travel.

According to Mutsvangwa, areas which recorded the most significant numbers of new cases were Harare Metropolitan Province (2 920), Mashonaland East Province (1 968), Mashonaland West Province (1 776), Manicaland Province (1 537) and Mashonaland Central Province (1 106).

Zimbabwe’s cumulative COVID-19 cases stood at 99 944, with 67 827 recoveries and 3 173 deaths while the recovery rate stood at 67 percent, with 98 percent of cases being attributed to local transmission. Active cases were 28 944.

Minister Mutsvangwa took time to assure the nation that that efforts are underway to replenish all supplies of essential COVID-19 consumables.

“Government is ramping up the supply of oxygen and other critical provisions at designated health institutions throughout the country.

“The Ministry of Health and Child Care has established a prepayment facility with a local gas supplier to ensure constant availability of oxygen. Treasury has released $100 million for the purchase of oxygen.

“Cabinet acceded to a request by the tourism industry to open the Victoria Falls and Kazungula Border Posts to tourists who are fully vaccinated.  This is in view of the realization that over 60 percent of the population in Victoria Falls has been vaccinated.”

She said lockdown measures are being enforced throughout the country to curtail a surge under the Third Wave of COVID-19.

“Cabinet further resolved that the disbursement of funds should be streamlined in order to facilitate the completion of COVID-19 treatment and isolation centres around the country.

“As the nation prepares for the reopening of schools, parents and guardians are expected to complement Government efforts to provide Personal Protective Equipment, sanitisers and other essential requirements for learners,” she said.

The minister said Cabinet had also directed that the Police should adhere to the curfew times when mounting roadblocks.

On COVID-19 vaccinations, Minister Mutsvangwa said a total of 1 491 493 people had received the first dose of vaccine while 687 216 people had received their second dose.

“Vaccination in border town hotspots and people’s markets is ongoing, with the highest coverage of the first dose being recorded in Victoria Falls City, Kariba and Chiredzi,” she said.

One million doses of the Sinovac vaccine were received Sunday while another consignment of 1.5 million doses of the  Sinopharm vaccine  are  expected on July 30 this year.

She said nurses under the Harare City Council and Chitungwiza Municipality were being placed under the Public Service Commission and would receive their salaries from the Salary Service Bureau.

“Cabinet noted with concern the failure by Chitungwiza Municipality and Harare City Council to pay nurses and other health personnel, resulting in a reduction in service delivery.

“The two Municipalities have also been unable to account for financial resources availed by Treasury towards the COVID-19 response.

“Cabinet also tasked the Minister of Finance and Economic Development to ensure that the municipalities account fully for the resources that they were allocated as part of the country’s COVID-19 response.”

Zimbabwe is currently battling a Third Wave of the coronavirus with government saying approximately 80 percent of new cases are linked to the highly contagious Delta variant from India.

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