THE government will continue to pay civil servants a Covid-19 allowance as it battles to contain the spread of the killer virus.
When the authorities introduced the allowance in June last year, it stated that the flat non-taxable payment of US$75 for civil servants and US$30 for pensioners would be paid until December 2020.
But since the start of the year, the country has been experiencing a harsh second wave of the pandemic which by Monday had claimed 582 lives out of
22 297 confirmed cases since March last year.
As a result, the government had no choice but to continue paying the public sector workers the stipend since the virus is still very much prevalent within the population.
The extension of the allowance also comes amid complaints by civil servants, particularly those in the health sector, that the government did not appreciate the role they were playing in the fight against the pandemic without adequate personal protective equipment.
In a letter to Zimbabwe Nurses Association (Zina) president Enock Dongo on Monday, Health Services Board (HSB) executive director Ruth Kaseke said the US$75 allowance would be subject to review.
“Please be advised that the Treasury has extended the payment of Covid-19 allowances equivalent to US$75 until further review which will be guided by the status of the pandemic and financial affordability,” Kaseke wrote.
All this comes as Dongo recently told the Daily News that health workers on the frontline were becoming Covid-19 spreaders because they were working with inadequate protection — making the health sector one of the biggest sources of the virus.
This comes as the country entered a hard lockdown last week with measures such as the re-introduction of a new dusk-to-dawn curfew following a renewed surge in confirmed cases and deaths.
In addition, the operations of all businesses — except those providing essential services — were also once again suspended for 30 days, as authorities battle to curb the spread of the lethal disease.
The re-imposed dusk-to-dawn curfew means that people are prohibited from being out and about between 6pm and 6am, except for those providing essential services.
In addition, supermarkets now operate from 8am to 3pm. But air travel and essential land transportation across borders for trucks continue under the new measures announced by Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who is also the country’s Health minister.