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Govt pushes back ZITF to August

CABINET has pushed back the 2021 Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) to August following an upsurge in Covid-19 cases. 

The event which is traditionally held in April had been pencilled to run from July 22 to 27 but it is no longer possible as Zimbabwe has slowly slipped into a third wave of the pandemic. 

This comes as the country recorded 1 249 infections in 24 hours — the highest figure since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020 —and 12 deaths.  

Speaking during a tour of Vulindlela Primary School in Cowdray Park, Presidential Affairs minister, Joram Gumbo bemoaned the complacency being shown by citizens which has resulted in the spike in new infections and deaths. 

“Yesterday (Tuesday) Cabinet decided that ZITF be postponed to August following an upsurge in Covid-19 cases. 

“Yes, we really need to hold that event but we have seen that our lives are more important than holding such an event. 

“We can always have it sometimes, but for now our lives are more important. The virus is deadly and it’s no joke, but at times people take it lightly and ignore directives from the government,” Gumbo said. 

Following an announcement of revised restrictive measures by the government to curb the spread of Covid-19, ZITF chairperson Busisa Moyo had assured all stakeholders that the annual multi-sectoral business expo was going to be hosted albeit the latest wave of Covid-19 infections. 

Moyo had highlighted that authorities would continue to periodically review the situation and work on adopting virtual formats for some events to reduce the number of physical contacts. 

Meanwhile, Gumbo bemoaned the huge complacency shown by Bulawayo citizens despite the city being designated as a Covid-19 hotspot. 

“I am not happy about Bulawayo. I passed through town and I saw it’s business as usual. 

“Money changers are everywhere and no one seems to care. This attitude must change because this Indian variant is deadly. 

“Here in Bulawayo, there are hotspots earmarked and you should be scared of that and be compliant. It is sad that you are not taking this seriously,” he said. 

Gumbo challenged legislators, who were present during the tour, to start encouraging people to adhere to Covid-19 regulations.