Govt moves to tame surge in COVID-19 infections
Harare (New Ziana) – Government has put in place a COVID-19 “third wave containment plan,” which involves increasing bed capacity at various hospitals and escalating the vaccination drive in order to tame the current wave of infections and deaths spurred by the highly infectious and lethal Delta variant.
Zimbabwe has recorded a spike in COVID-19 infections and related deaths in recent weeks as the Delta variant-which now accounts for about 80 percent of new cases identified in the country, continues to wreak havoc.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the country had seen a worrying surge in weekly cases from 8 013 during the week ending 13 July 2021, to 21 346 in week ending 20 July 2021.
She said in the past week, Mashonaland West recorded 2 759 new cases, Harare Metropolitan 2 315, Mashonaland East 2 157, Manicaland 1 837 and Mashonaland Central 1 394.
This had prompted government to fortify its interventions.
“Government is pleased to announce that the Ministry of Health and Child Care has developed a COVID-19 Third Wave Containment Plan. The highlights of the plan include increasing the bed capacity at Mpilo and Sally Mugabe Central Hospitals, designation of Beatrice Road Infectious Disease Hospital and Ekusileni Hospitals as COVID-19 District Hospitals for Harare and Bulawayo, respectively, strengthening private sector participation, improving conditions of service for health workers, operationalising Virtual Hospitals in which every district will have a Rapid Response Team to attend to cases of acute COVID-19 clinical distress and a review of COVID-19 risk allowances,” she said.
“Cabinet wishes to further inform citizens that government is expecting a delivery of 1.5 million vaccine doses this week and an additional 1 million doses plus 2 million syringes on the 25th of July, 2021.”
Mutsvangwa said Cabinet had also directed the decongestion of both public and private sector workplaces to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
She said Courts of Law would be opened only for remand and urgent cases.
“In taking the lead, Government has further reduced its workforce to 25 per cent, on a two-week rotational interval. Priority will be given to the vaccinated personnel. All civil servants should be vaccinated and those that fall ill without having been vaccinated will not be entitled to the COVID-19 insurance,” she said.
“All civil servants should be tested for COVID-19 at the commencement and end of the two week rotational interval and a locum-based COVID-19 risk allowance payment model will be adopted for the health personnel in the red zone as part of the incentive schemes.”