By Mashudu Netsianda
Government yesterday announced that schools will remain closed for the next two weeks following a spike in Covid-19 cases in the country.
Schools were initially scheduled to open on June 28 for the second term but an increase in Covid-19 infections forced Government to postpone face-to-face learning.
This is the second time this year that Government has postponed the opening of schools.
The first time was in January when the country was hot with the second wave of infections.
Speaking during a post-Cabinet media briefing yesterday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said Government will review the decision at the end of two weeks.
Universities and colleges also suspended face-to-face lectures in the wake of rising Covid-19 infections.
As of Monday, Zimbabwe, has now recorded 70 426 confirmed cases, 46 932 recoveries and 2 236 deaths.
Minister Mutsvangwa said the surge in cases has led to an increase in demand for beds, hence Government is expediting the full capacitation of isolation and treatment centres throughout the country.
“In view of the increasing number of cases, Cabinet agrees that there should be enhanced enforcement of restrictions on the movement of people. His Excellency the President has already further extended the level four lockdown by another two weeks,” she said.
“Regarding resource mobilisation, the nation is informed that Treasury released an amount of $368,5 million to the Ministries of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage; and Defence and War Veterans Affairs, with an additional $41 million to be released to the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services.”
Minister Mutsvangwa said the Vehicle Inspection Department and police have escalated enforcement of lockdown measures for public transport operations, including the banning of intercity travel.
“Members of the public are encouraged to strictly adhere to the lockdown measures for their own safety. Cabinet noted with concern reports of alleged delays in the delivery of grain by farmers owing to demands for vaccination certificates and directed that farmer will not be required to produce vaccination certificates when delivering maize to the Grain Marketing Board,” she said.
“However, they will still be required to observe all the stipulated Covid-19 regulations.”
Minister Mutsvangwa said vaccination is now open to everybody, with frontline personnel still being prioritised at vaccination centres. A total of 1,5 million vaccine doses will be distributed this coming week.
“The nation is informed that vaccination is now open to everybody, with frontline personnel still being prioritised at vaccination centres.
Cabinet is pleased to note that citizens across the country continue to present themselves for vaccination in large numbers,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa said in order to minimise the time spent in queues, extra personnel from security and defence forces have been harnessed so as to increase the numbers of personnel at vaccination centres.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Health and Child Care, working with relevant Government departments, is taking measures to ensure that vaccination, rapid response and case management teams are supported with vehicles, fuel and subsistence allowance to ensure that the country achieves herd immunity,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa said the Ministry of Health and Child Care has printed adequate stocks of vaccination cards with security features and is expediting the distribution process to all provinces. She said Sinopharm and Sinovac Covid-19 vaccines are now available on the COVAX platform and the Government will take advantage of the African Union facility to boost local supplies of the vaccines. The Chronicle