Govt sets up coronavirus taskforce

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PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday set up an 11-member inter-ministerial taskforce to deal with the outbreak of coronavirus (Covid-19).

This comes as Zimbabwe has recorded its first death from the two confirmed cases of the deadly coronavirus, amid growing concerns that the country is ill-prepared to deal with the disease.

Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa yesterday told journalists during a post-Cabinet media briefing that followed Cabinet’s resolution last week that an inter-ministerial task force be set up to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, that Mnangagwa had established the taskforce to monitor and manage the government’s response to the pandemic.

“In light of the gravity of the coronavirus that is before us, President Mnangagwa set up an ad hoc inter-ministerial taskforce in line with the decision by Cabinet at its seventh meeting held last Tuesday.

“The taskforce is deliberating on how to tackle the virus as we speak because the government is taking the situation very seriously,” Mutsvangwa said.

She indicated that the taskforce will comprise Health and Child Care minister Obadiah Moyo who will be the chairperson, while Local Government minister July Moyo will deputise him.

“Other members of the committee include the minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs, minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, minister of Transport and Infrastructural Development, minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, minister of Finance and Economic Development and the Attorney-General,” Mutsvangwa said.

She added that the taskforce will identify any gaps to corrective action, raise the general awareness of the public on the pandemic and mobilise domestic and international financial resources to adequately respond to the outbreak.

“The taskforce will also engage private sector associations that include captains of industries and businesses, religious leaders and local authorities and traditional leaders as they will be coming in to support government initiatives to be implemented.

“It will also rally all stakeholders towards the successful fight of the virus and these include the Zimbabwe Medical Association, its affiliates and all stakeholders in the medical and health fields and update the president and Cabinet and the nation on the country’s state of preparedness to deal with coronavirus,” Mutsvangwa added.
Mutsvangwa further indicated that the government is prepared to deal with the virus although there are challenges which need to be addressed.

“Government is very prepared. It cannot be prepared like we knew there was Covid-19 coming. Like any country, we are all struggling to ensure that they put the right things in place,” she said.

This comes as the late Zororo Makamba’s family, in an interview with the Daily News, indicated that the Wilkins Infectious Diseases Hospital failed to give him the required treatment to save his life, citing that there was a lack of equipment including ventilators, sockets to connect the ventilators, lack of medication and care from health workers.

“Zororo was like a son to me, I am completely devastated. We worked together with him as a ministry. We received the news of his death with so much sadness.

“He was a smart man, wonderful communicator, respectful and somebody who knew how to cultivate a message of hope in especially the youth in this country. He was doing a wonderful job and the episodes he produced during his time, we are going to keep them for posterity,” Mutsvangwa said.

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