By Liz Dlodlo
Zimbabweans should not lose focus in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic due to the continued easing of lockdown regulations, the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Monica Mutsvangwa said Monday.
In a media brief following the Ad-hoc Inter Ministerial Taskforce on Covid-19 meeting, she said containing the pandemic remained a top priority for Government.
Mutsvangwa said the most affected provinces were Harare and Bulawayo.
She said the Government still considered the death rate as high and that it will continue upgrading selected facilities so as to be able to cope with any potential spike in infections.
“To that end planned works at 11 isolation centres are now complete.
These are; Wilkins Infectious Diseases Hospital and Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare Metropolitan Province; Victoria Falls Beat Aids in Matabeleland North Province; Rujeko Clinic and Mashava Gaths Mine Hospital in Masvingo Province, Beitbridge and Plumtree District Hospitals in Matabeleland South Province, Chinengundu Clinic in Mashonaland West Province, and Chipadze Training Center and Guruve District Hospital in Mashonaland Central Province,” said the Minister.
She said upgrading works at others isolation centres were at various levels of completion.
Mutsvangwa said the committee was pleased with the recovery (of Covid-19 active cases) rate in the country.
Government, she said remained committed boosting the country’s preparedness and response plans which are being continually are upgraded.
“As part of the efforts to boost self-sufficiency through import substitution, local industries and tertiary institutions continue to ramp up production of PPEs and drugs.
“The University of Zimbabwe and a local company have begun manufacturing swabs required for collecting Covid-19 samples. The swabs have been submitted to the Ministry of Health and Child Care and to Natpharm for quality assurance tests,” said Mutsvangwa.
She said preparations to open up the tourism sector was also going traction.
“This includes the assessment and staff training. The readiness of other ports of entry is under assessment and the nation will be advised,” she added.
The Minister said the Attorney General was working on Statutory Instrument 216 of 2020 which among other issues operationalizes the resumption of the aviation sector, regulates tourism operations under the lockdown, and the special provisions for liquor licenses.
The sale and consumption of liquor by licensees, she said will be done in three categories.
Additionally, as part of gradually opening the economy, Government has extended operation hours for the retail, wholesale and service businesses from 8am -4.30pm to 6.30am – 6.30pm.