1.0 ZIMBABWE’S RESPONSE TO THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC AND REPORT ON THE PROCUREMENT AND ROLLOUT OF VACCINES
Cabinet considered Zimbabwe’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the report on the procurement and roll-out of vaccines, which was presented by the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development, on behalf of the Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, Honourable C.G.D.N. Chiwenga.
Cabinet wishes to inform the nation that as at the 16th of May, 2022, Zimbabwe’s cumulative COVID-19 positive cases had reached 249 431, with 242 537 recoveries and 5 484 deaths. The recovery rate was 97%, with 1 279 active cases recorded. The overall number of new cases increased during the week, with 910 cases recorded, compared to 361 the previous week. An average of 130 new cases were reported per day, compared to 52 the previous week. A total of 49 new admissions were recorded compared to 42 the previous week, with 8 patients admitted to the Intensive Care Unit.
The nation is informed that the most recent genomic sequencing test results show that the circulating variants in Zimbabwe remain Omicron BA.1 and BA.2, and not the more transmissible BA.4 and BA.5 that have been reported in South Africa.
On the National COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, Cabinet is informing the nation that Vaccination campaign teams were out in full force during the week. Vaccine doses utilised reached 726 278, compared to 289 035 the previous week. The cumulative numbers of vaccinations since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2020 have now reached 6 131 637 for the first dose, 4 381 446 for the second dose, and 750 228 for the third dose. All provinces except Harare, Mashonaland West and Chitungwiza city, recorded vaccination coverage above 50%. The Public is urged to take advantage of the current Vaccination Blitz at a centre nearest to them.
The nation is further being informed that 14 new COVID-19 cases were detected through the School Surveillance System. This brings the number of cases recorded since the beginning of the Second Term on 3 May 2022 to 66. The Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education continues to provide the requisite facilitation for the on-going COVID-19 vaccination blitz campaign in schools. Provinces are planning to extend the phase two vaccination blitz campaign by a few more weeks to ensure that all eligible learners are vaccinated and are maximally protected, especially during the winter season that is now upon us.
Cabinet advises the country to remain vigilant in view of the surge in COVID-19 cases. In embracing the new normal, Cabinet has approved the following measures:
1. that Provincial Medical Directors in collaboration with Provincial Education Directors submit, on a weekly basis, a list of schools in their provinces that meet the 70% second dose COVID-19 coverage;
2. that all teams should continue working closely with community leaders to ramp up vaccination campaign activities, and encourage the most vulnerable groups, especially the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions to get vaccinated; and
3. that all primary schools resume all sporting activities. Secondary Schools that have reached 70% COVID-19 second dose vaccination can resume non-contact sporting activities;
2.0 HOSTING OF THE AFRICAN ELEPHANT CONSERVATION CONFERENCE AT HWANGE NATIONAL PARK: 23 – 26 MAY, 2022
The Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism, and Hospitality Industry, Honourable Mangaliso Ndlovu, updated Cabinet on the Hosting of the African Elephant Conservation Conference at the Hwange National Park from 23 to 26 May, 2022. Cabinet noted the Report.
The nation will recall that Cabinet earlier on approved the hosting of the Conference, which is primarily meant to discuss and prepare for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) 19th Conference of Parties (COP 19), scheduled for November 2022 in Panama. The African Elephant Conference will also provide technical scientific research on African elephant conservation and management as well as assess the successes and failures recorded in that regard. Furthermore, the Conference will galvanize support on measures to improve African Elephant conservation in Southern Africa and agree on a framework for wildlife management.
Overall, a total of 150 participants are expected to attend the event, including:
• Responsible Ministers from 16 Southern, Central, Eastern and Western African countries;
• Diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe;
• Non-State Actors, such as the CAMPFIRE Association, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation; and
• Chiefs and local community representatives.
Cabinet wishes to further highlight that the Elephant Conference programme involves a two-day meeting of technical officials from 23 to 24 May 2022, followed by a one-day Ministerial Meeting on 26 May 2022. The key output of the Conference will be a Ministerial Declaration on African Elephant Conservation in Africa that is to be referred to as the Hwange Elephant Declaration.
Government emphasizes that the CITES COP 19 is critical in the country’s wildlife conservation and management programmes, especially that of elephants and stockpiled products. The outcome of the African Elephant Conference should, therefore, be mutually beneficial to all parties, including communities, wildlife, the environment and Government. In particular, there is need to look objectively into the issue of trade in elephant products as well as human-wildlife conflict issues in affected communities, and this Conference provides the appropriate discussion platform.
3.0 PROPOSAL ON THE SMART CITY PROJECT
The Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services, Honourable Dr. Jenfan Muswere, presented a Proposal on the Smart City Project, which was adopted by Cabinet.
The Smart City Solutions proposal relates to the strategic area which will introduce operational efficiencies in law enforcement and city administration through the use of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs). Implementation of the Solutions is spearheaded by the Ministry of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services. The current proposal relates to the Smart Traffic Management System that is Monitoring and Surveillance with Cameras; and Integration of Systems under the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development.
In terms of the Smart Traffic Management System, a country-wide system is set to be deployed throughout the country in partnership with capable technical partners. The System aims to install cameras on all controlled intersections and strategic points in all cities for gathering information and monitoring traffic flow within cities. It will create a platform for the real-time electronic monitoring of roads, receipting, reconciliation of fines, docket management, and analysis of traffic information and statistics across the whole country. The System will be integrated with relevant electronic platforms at the Central Vehicle Registry (CVR), Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (ZINARA), Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA), INTERPOL and other relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
The Integration of Systems under the Ministry of Transport and Infrastructural Development will link a number of operational systems as well as those to be installed in the Ministry. A Committee was set up to work on the linkage of all the systems to the National Data Centre. The targeted systems are in the CVR, ZINARA, ZIMPOST, Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) and other relevant Departments in the road and vehicle management area.
Cabinet advises that the Ministry of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services will directly engage Ministries, Departments and Agencies and Technical Partners for the deployment of the Smart City Solutions across the country. Under this arrangement, the selected partners will fund the procurement of equipment and implementation of smart solutions on a revenue-share basis, with investment recouped from revenues generated by the respective project on a Build Operate Transfer basis. This will expedite implementation of the projects.
The Smart City Project has many benefits. It will ensure that all criminals who skip red traffic lights and commit similar crimes are easily traced and brought to book. The Project is also expected to reduce road carnage attributable to human error, while improving operational efficiencies in the administration of local authorities and law enforcement agencies. Crime detection and enforcement will be enhanced, while revenue collection will also be increased through optimized systems.
I THANK YOU!