UPDATE ON ZIMBABWE’S RESPONSE TO THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK
Cabinet received an update on Zimbabwe’s Response to the COVID-19 Outbreak, which was presented by the Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs, Honourable O.C.Z. Muchinguri-Kashiri, as the Chairperson of the Inter-Ministerial Task Force on the COVID-19 Outbreak.
As at 10 May, 2021, Zimbabwe’s cumulative COVID-19 cases stood at 38 433, with 36 208 recoveries and 1 576 deaths. The recovery rate stands at 94.2%, with 95.5% of COVID-19-positive cases being attributable to local transmission. The number of active cases dropped to 649 from the 1 073 reported the previous week.
Government notes with concern the increasing disregard of COVID-19 preventive measures by the general public. Members of the public are urged to continue observing COVID-19 regulations and control measures, especially the wearing of face-masks in public, maintaining social distance and frequent sanitization. We are not yet out of danger!
Law enforcement agents will continue to strengthen the enforcement of COVID-19 control measures and increase surveillance. Related to this, the Vehicle Inspectorate Department (VID), the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (ZTSC) continue to enhance surveillance and enforcement in response to the upsurge of unregistered private kombis plying the country’s urban routes. Owners of these vehicles are called upon to register with ZUPCO if they wish to operate on the country’s roads. Drivers and crews of registered buses and kombis operating under the ZUPCO franchise are urged to strictly adhere to road rules and regulations as well as COVID-19 guidelines in order to avoid unnecessary delays to the travelling public and brushes with the law enforcement agencies.
In terms of materials production, Cabinet advises that there has been an increase in all categories of Natpharm stocks, most notably in those of gloves and disposable masks. There has also been an increase in all locally produced Personal Protective Equipment.
In the primary and secondary Sector, the nation is informed that all COVID-19-positive cases reported at Prince Edward, Sacred Heart and Bonda Mission schools have fully recovered. Most of the cases recorded at schools in Bulawayo Province since the beginning of the current school term have also recovered, with very few remaining active cases. The Standardised Training Modules for use in the upgraded COVID-19 training at all learning institutions have been finalized and the roll-out in all provinces is underway. Teacher attendance to work continues to be recorded and monitored on a daily basis, and it is once again reiterated that Government will continue to apply the no-work no-pay labour principle to all cases of teacher absenteeism.
Regarding the provision of water, 45 new boreholes were drilled and 587 rehabilitated under Government’s routine borehole drilling programme. A total of 12 piped water schemes have been rehabilitated since January 2021. Government is looking into the Harare and Bulawayo water situation in conjunction with the relevant stakeholders.
- PROGRESS REPORT ON THE PROCUREMENT AND ROLL-OUT OF COVID-19 VACCINES
The Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Honourable C.G.D.N. Chiwenga, appraised Cabinet on progress made in the procurement and roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines.
As of 10th May, 2021, a total of 529 360 people had received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 161 293 their second dose across the country. Members of the public are urged to go to their nearest health facility to receive their COVID-19 vaccine so that the country achieves the required herd immunity to control the spread of the disease.
On a related matter, Government appreciates that, in an increasingly globalised world where the threats of fast-spreading health diseases or disasters are ever-increasing, there is need for availability of real-time data to enable efficient and effective monitoring and decision-making. Accordingly, the Ministry of Health and Child Care, with the support of partners has developed a comprehensive, health-centric and integrated national Electronic Health Record System called Impilo for patient registration, patient management and evaluation, patient tracking, stock usage and tracking, and data aggregation, validation and analysis. Impilo will be deployed at 5 Central Hospitals, 7 Provincial Hospitals, 30 District Hospitals, and 384 Clinics across the country. It is pleasing to note that the Impilo Electronic Health Record System was developed by a 100% Zimbabwean technical team and licenced under the Ministry of Health and Child Care. The system supports health workers in following clinical protocols for priority health services.
Connected to this development, the Ministry of Health and Child Care has also partnered with the Global Fund through the United Nations Development Programme to launch and sustain a nationwide project for broadband connectivity in the country’s top 350 health facilities, based on patient volumes. The launch of the solar health project previously reported at the Twelfth Post-Cabinet Press Briefing will provide the back-up power to both the electronic health record system and the internet connectivity services.
3.0 UPDATE ON PROGRESS TOWARDS THE ATTAINMENT OF THE US$12 BILLION MINING INDUSTRY BY 2023: TSINGSHAN CONSOLIDATED MINING AND VALUE ADDITION PROJECT
Cabinet received an update on the Tsingshan Consolidated Mining and Value Addition project which will significantly contribute towards achievement of the US$12 billion Mining industry milestone by 2023. Tsingshan is a global player of repute which ranks at number 329 on the global 500 fortune companies index. The company has been in Zimbabwe for ten years, first in Selous, then Hwange and now in Mvuma.
Cabinet was advised that:- since the signing of an MOU in 2018, Tsingshan had completed two high carbon ferrochrome furnaces in Selous, in April 2021; and completed the construction of a 150 000 tonne coke battery in the Hwange in April 2021. In May 2021 the company had commenced construction of an additional 150 000 tonne coke battery. Tsingshan will in November 2021 commence construction of a third coke battery and a power station in Hwange area. A ground breaking ceremony for the iron ore mine as well as a Carbon Steel Plant will be held in July at Manhize, Mvuma.
Cabinet has set up an Inter-Ministerial Committee to coordinate the Tsingshan Consolidated Mining Project. The Ministries in the Committee are:-
- Ministry of Mines and Mining Development whose Permanent Secretary will chair.
- The Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development;
- The Ministry of Energy and Power Development;
- The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Resettlement;
- The Ministry of Local Government and Public Works;
- The Ministry of Finance and Economic Development; and
- The Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage.
4.0 CONGESTION IN ROADS AND POOR LIGHTING IN URBAN AREAS
Cabinet notes that there is increased economic activity due to the decisive interventions by Government on the financial sector. Additionally, the easing of the lockdown measures, the increased availability of fuel on the local market, and increased economic activity, has seen the number of cars on our roads increase and this has resulted in vehicle traffic congestion. To that end, an Inter-Ministerial Committee chaired by the Minister of Local Government and Public Works has been directed to look into decongesting the roads and addressing the poor the lighting in our cities. Road users are also reminded to be cautious on the roads and observe the laid down regulations, as some are now causing chaos.
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