TWENTY-SECOND POST CABINET PRESS BRIEFING : 6TH JULY, 2021
1.0 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, as Chairperson of the Ad-Hoc Inter-Ministerial Task Force on the COVID-19 Outbreak.
As at 4 July, 2021, Zimbabwe’s cumulative COVID-19 cases stood at 54 474, with 40 239 recoveries and 1 878 deaths. The recovery rate stands at 74%, with 97% of COVID-19 positive cases being attributable to local transmission. The number of active cases stands at 12 357.
The nation is informed that the surge reported the previous week continued, with a total of 8 042 cases recorded during the period under review, compared to 3 882 reported the previous week. This represents a 107% increase. As you might be aware the entire country is now under Level 4 lockdown, following the surge in COVID-19 cases. The worst affected provinces are Mashonaland West (2 114), Mashonaland Central (2 957); Harare Metropolitan (1 041) Mashonaland East (847), and Midlands (848).
Regarding case management, infection, prevention and control, the Ministry of Health and Child Care remains seized with managing COVID-19 cases detected in different parts of the country. Companies and Universities have enough raw materials to increase production of PPE stocks and medicines which are used to manage COVID-19 symptoms.
With regard to primary and secondary education, the nation is advised that in preparation for the opening of schools for the Second Term, the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Child Care, has instituted the following contingency measures :
a) Inspection visits being carried out to assess the state of preparedness at all boarding schools, high enrolment day schools and schools with very limited infrastructure;
b) Ensuring adequate WASH provisions at every school;
c) Completion of COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control training workshops for teaching and non-teaching staff;
d) Confirmation of COVID-19 essential supplies in all districts.
The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education is working on modalities to enable a blend of face-to-face classroom learning, remote learning at home and in communities, as well as alternative learning platforms, such as e-learning, radio and television.
Provincial reports on the COVID-19 situation were made following visits to Mashonaland Central, Manicaland, Matebeleland South, Midlands and Mashonaland West by Honourable K. Kazembe; Honourable M. Mutsvangwa; Honourable M. Ndlovu; and Hon Z. Ziyambi respectively.
Cabinet noted the reports and assures the nation that measures are being put in place to reduce the burden of the COVID-19 diseases on our citizens and to ensure that lives will not be unnecessarily lost.
The findings from the provinces indicated that the they were constrained by the following matters:
• Shortage of some PPE; misinformation on vaccines about their alleged negative effects; and shortage of health care workers at some stations. Some District Hospitals, such as Nyanga and Chipinge require bulk oxygen tanks, while some like Zvimba in Mashonaland West, Plumtree and Gwanda in Matabeleland South require functional Isolation Centres. Construction works at Mvurwi Hospital in Mashonaland Central Province should be expeditiously completed to meet the current rising demand;
• Funerals have become major spreaders within the Provinces, the Environmental Health Workers and Police are upping their game in the enforcement of the mandatory numbers. While Village Health Workers are playing their part in educating villagers, we implore traditional leaders to be more visible and forceful in the enforcement of lockdown regulations.
• There are inadequate tools of trade such as desktops, laptops and vehicles including provision of adequate data to ensure compliance by Civil Servants to the 40% staff requirements and all efforts are being made to redress the situation.
• There is poor network connectivity for both staff reporting for duty and those working from home.
• Some Provincial Taskforces indicated that there is erratic fuel supply and inadequate vehicles for operations.
Given the above challenges, Cabinet has directed that Treasury urgently releases the first tranche of ZW$368.2 million it had committed towards funding the enforcement of Level 4 lockdown measures. This will reinforce the current efforts of containing the spread of COVID-19. The nation is advised that the exemption mechanism which were used during the first lockdown in 2020 will be reactivated with immediate effect. Stiffer penalties will be imposed for violations of COVID-19 restrictions, including the withdrawal of business operating licences.
2.0 PROGRESS REPORT ON THE PROCUREMENT AND ROLL OUT OF COVID-19 VACCINES
Cabinet received an update on the procurement and roll out of the COVID-19 Vaccines, which was presented by the Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Honourable C.G.D.N. Chiwenga.
The nation is informed that as at 4 July, 2021, a total of 795 171 people had received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 569 091 their second dose across the country. Cabinet advises that the roll out of vaccines to hotspot areas and border posts is in full swing with a total of 1 800 vaccinated at Chirundu border post, out of a total of 2 641 adults who are eligible for vaccination. The vaccination exercise at the people’s markets at Mbare Musika and Highfield is proceeding well.
The nation is also informed that the distribution of the Sinopharm vaccine to provinces commenced on Friday 2 July 2021. Every province received 15 000 first doses except for Harare Metropolitan, Manicaland and Mashonaland West Provinces which received 20 000 doses each. The nation is advised that a total of 2 000 000 doses procured from the Peoples Republic of China are expected in the country by the 8th of July, 2021.
Cabinet further reports that the Ministry of Health and Child Care has dispatched 8 Oxygen concentrators and 1 420 pulse oximeters to provincial and district hospitals, in support of the virtual hospitals concept. The Ministry is in the process of procuring 3 000 oxygen concentrators, pulse oximeters, thermometers, glucometers and blood pressure machines for the virtual hospital concept.
It is reported that there are 356 admitted cases countrywide, representing a 21% occupancy rate. Measures are being put in place to ensure that all hospitals have adequate facilities to meet any surges in demand as we tackle this 3rd wave.
3.0 REPORTS ON THE 7TH 100 DAY CYCLE OF THE SECOND REPUBLIC
Cabinet received reports on the 7th 100 Day Cycle of the Second Republic from the Ministers of Health and Child Care; Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs; Energy and Power Development; and Local Government and Public Works.
The Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Honourable C.G.D.N. Chiwenga advised that solar power had been installed at 129 of the targetted 150 primary care clinics during the current cycle. Cabinet further advises that 40 of the targeted, 100 boreholes were drilled. Construction of a dedicated water line to Bindura Hospital is now 91% complete, while the refurbishment of Chegutu District Hospital is 20% complete. Regarding the Impilo Electronic Health Record Rollout, Cabinet reports that the Impilo Electronic Health Record System was deployed to 100 of the targetted 250 new sites.
The Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Honourable Ziyambi Ziyambi advised that construction of Chinhoyi Magistrates Court, Mashonaland West, and Lupane Magistrates Court, Matabeleland North Provinces are on schedule. The Chikurubi Training School Staff Housing Project which seeks to have 40 blocks of houses constructed is 75% complete. Under the horticulture overhead irrigation project, Anju Prison Farm, in Matabeleland North, planted 5 hectares of sugar bean and 1.2 hectares of cabbages which are ready and are now being harvested. 33-hectare of maize, 17 hectares of sorghum, 5 hectares of seed sorghum and 1.2 hectares of sweet potatoes is being harvested at Anju Prison Farm. At Hurungwe Prison Farm, Mashonaland West Province, Cabinet reports that planting of various horticultural crops is also on target.
The Minister of Energy and Power and Development, Hon. Z. Soda reported that construction of Units 7 and 8 at the Hwange Power Station is at 66.73% against a target of 91.84%. The Zimbabwe Zhongxin Electric Project is overally 98% complete. The power plant design and construction is 100% complete, while the transmission line is at 90% with 1.3 km of the line section remaining for completion by end of June 2021. On the electrification of Kanyemba, the nation is advised that a total of 17.23 km of a 33 kiloVaults High Voltage line has been completed. An additional survey and wayleave clearance for 7.2 km of the High Voltage line was done. Pertaining the Harava Solar Power Plant, installation of the 6 MW Solar Panel has been completed. The evacuation line thereof was completed and the substation equipment is awaiting delivery from China. Regarding the Solgas Solar Power Plant, the nation is informed that 5 MW photovoltaic solar panels were installed. Earthing equipment for the power plant was completed, 28 High Voltage Transmission interconnector completed and substation equipment is being delivered from China for installation.
The Minister of Local Government and Public Works, Hon. J.G. Moyo reported that the glazing, flooring and painting of the classroom block at Vira Secondary School in Guruve, Mashonaland Central was completed. The upgrading of water and sanitation facilities at the Flea Market by the Lupane Local Board is 97% complete and is expected to meet the scheduled date. Upgrading of 3.6 km of sewer Trunk Mains in Chegutu is at 92% completion. The Ruwa Local Board installed 3 Solar Powered boreholes. The rehabilitation of the Munyuko Vegetable Market stalls in Epworth is at 95% and will be completed within the current 100-day cycle.
4.0 PRINCIPLES TO AMEND THE TOURISM ACT, 1996 [CHAPTER 14:20]
Cabinet considered and approved the Principles to amend the Tourism Act, 1996 [Chapter 14:20] which was presented by the Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Honourable N.M. Ndlovu.
The nation is advised that the Tourism Amendment Bill will seek to align the Tourism Act to the Constitution, and to remove any sections that conflict the Public Entities and Corporate Governance Act. The Amendment Bill will further broaden the scope of tourism to include sustainable tourism and universal access to tourism for both locals and international visitors. The proposed provisions seek to ensure that Zimbabwean people benefit from local tourism resources.