Gvt mulls tightening lockdown measures in Covid-19 hotspots

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Blessings Mashaya

THE government is planning to tighten lockdown measures in coronavirus (Covid1-19) hotspots – Harare, Bulawayo and Gweru – in in a bid to contain the spread of the deadly disease.

This comes as the country’s cases have ballooned to 2 704 confirmed cases, 542 recoveries and 36 deaths, according to Health ministry figures released on Monday.

Speaking during the post-Cabinet media briefing yesterday, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said local transmissions were spiking in Harare, Bulawayo and Gweru.

“Of particular concern is that the cumulative number of confirmed local Covid-19 cases has increased by 112 percent from 791 to 1 675 during the past week.

“Most of the local cases are in Bulawayo (667), Harare (601) and Gweru (168). Cabinet, therefore, declared Gweru a hotspot of Covid-19, in addition to Harare and Bulawayo. Government is expediting efforts to put in place Rapid Result Test teams to facilitate localised lockdowns in hotspot suburbs of the three cities.”

She said they are currently investigating to find the best way of implementing the localised lockdown.

“In order to control the spike in the number of Covid-19 confirmed cases and deaths, Cabinet further agreed on the immediate implementation of the following practical measures: (a) that Covid-19 hotspots shall be quickly analysed with a view to implementing stricter lockdown measures so as to ensure behavioural change towards the disease in the areas; (b) that holding of virtual meetings shall be enhanced and that all ministry staff reporting for duty shall be tested before assuming duty, while the outgoing group of workers is tested before leaving and upon return.”

Mutsvangwa said the initial official communication of Covid-19 results shall be made by the secretary for Health and Child Care and threatened to take action against those who violate the directive, adding that the Rapid Response Teams would be provided with the vehicles and allowances necessary to enable them to carry out their duties efficiently.

Meanwhile, Mutsvangwa also said the Cabinet had agreed to put stiffer measures on businesses that are operating as they are now supposed to get approval from the police.

“In the business sector, it is highlighted that employers are required to issue new letters to their employees.
“The letters should contain the list of all the employees at the company, which list must be authenticated and stamped by the officer-in-charge of the nearest police station.

“Individual employees shall be required to carry such letters at all times, together with their national identity cards.
“The requirements pertaining to movement control have already been published in the public media.
“Members of the public are urged to comply with the regulations published under Statutory Instrument 174 of 2020 which will be strictly enforced.”

Mutsvangwa added that the government was looking to recruit more health workers, including nurses.


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