By Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa
Cabinet received an update on the response to the COVID-19 Outbreak, which was presented by the Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs as Chairperson of the Inter-Ministerial Task Force on the COVID-19 Outbreak.
Cabinet was informed that as at 12th April, 2021, Zimbabwe’s cumulative COVID-19 cases stood at 37 307, with 34 901 recoveries and 1 542 deaths.
The recovery rate stands at 94 per cent, with 35 423 of cases being attributed to local transmission. Active cases were 864.
Cabinet noted that due to the strong COVID-19 surveillance system being implemented in schools, last week’s outbreak at Sacred Heart School in Umzingwane District of Matabeleland South Province was easily detected and dealt with.
Out of the 248 students and 33 teachers tested, 117 were found to be COVID-19 positive. All the cases are mild, and are isolating at the school for the learners or at home for the teachers. Response activities that include contact tracing and strengthening of all Standard Operating Procedures and guidelines are in progress.
Generally, hospital admissions for COVID-19 cases have decreased, resulting in institutions such as the Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals reclaiming areas in the Out-Patient Department for routine service provision.
However, Cabinet is advising citizens to maintain a high level of alertness and adhere to the preventive measures already in force. This includes during the impending 41st Independence Day Anniversary, when gatherings of more than fifty persons will also be prohibited.
In order to protect learners during the forthcoming holiday and avoid the COVID-19 infection spike as happened over the Christmas and New Year holidays, Cabinet has directed that all learners at boarding schools remain at their respective schools during the Independence holiday in order to avoid travel congestion and minimize chances of contracting the virus.
All school heads, without exception, are required to observe this directive, which is in the national interest.