Cabinet extends Kwekwe lockdown Minister Monica Mutsvangwa

Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
THE country is expected to receive half a million Covid-19 vaccine doses next Tuesday, as Cabinet yesterday extended the localised Kwekwe lockdown by a further two weeks.

The procurement of the Covid-19 vaccine doses from China is part of Government measures to vaccinate 60 percent of the population to attain herd immunity.

Since February when the country rolled out the Covid-19 vaccination programme, over 680 000 people had received their first Covid-19 dose by Monday while 385 275 have received the second jab.

A localised lockdown was imposed in Kwekwe two weeks ago after the district recorded an increase in Covid-19 cases, including the deadly Indian variant that has since been contained.

Last month, Africa’s Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cited Zimbabwe as the leader in the SADC block in Covid-19 vaccination programme.

The total number of people vaccinated accounts for 3 percent of the population, also significantly more than other nations.

In the same period, South Africa had obtained 825 000 doses and had managed to administer 478 733 doses to cover 1,39 percent of its population.

Government has procured 1,2 million Sinovac vaccines while the country has received donations of 500 000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine from the Chinese government, another 100 000 doses of Sinopharm from the Chinese military as a gift for vaccinating all in the Defence Forces, and another 35 000 Covaxin doses from India.

President Mnangagwa has encouraged eligible citizens to be vaccinated as getting vaccinated is one of the best ways of protecting citizens from the pandemic.

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa yesterday said Vice President Constantino Chiwenga briefed Cabinet about Government’s Covid-19 vaccine doses procurement process.

She was speaking during a post-Cabinet media briefing where she confirmed Cabinet’s decision to approve the localised lockdown in Kwekwe.

“The public is advised that efforts to ensure the availability of doses continue as a matter of priority. The Ministry of Health and Child Care is redistributing existing stocks to ensure availability of the second dose. A batch of 500 000 doses of vaccine is expected in the country by 15th June, 2021,” she said.

“The nation is informed that Cabinet has approved that the lockdown in Kwekwe be extended by a further two weeks.

“The development comes in the wake of a surge in positive cases in Kwekwe, which to date has 74 cumulative cases, 70 active cases, three recoveries and one death. It is highlighted that the Indian variant has been detected in some of the new cases.”

Minister Mutsvangwa said teachers and pupils at Embakwe High School have been quarantined after four teachers at the school tested Covid-19 positive, although all the 400 pupils tested negative.

She said Cabinet has also banned the use of schools during the holiday to pave way for the disinfection of premises.

“The nation is informed that the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education has banned the use of schools for holiday lessons during the three-week break that commenced on 4th June 2021. It is envisaged that the ban will allow thorough cleaning and disinfection of the school environment and this reduces the spread of Covid-19.

“Learning will continue through alternative platforms, including self-study guides that will facilitate learners to continue their school work at their homes,” she said.

Minister Mutsvangwa urged citizens to adhere to Covid-19 prevention measures as the country is still at high risk of new infections. — @nqotshili

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