Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
GOVERNMENT is set to recruit an additional 500 nurses to ease pressure on the health sector and has indefinitely extended Covid-19 allowances for civil servants and pensioners.
Government is paying US$75 equivalent in local currency to all civil servants and US$30 corresponding to pensioners as part of Covid-19 allowances.
The fund was expected to stop at the end of this month before the review was made permanent.
Presenting the Government’s weekly Covid-19 taskforce resolutions, acting Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Jenfan Muswere, in a statement, urged the public to take proactive roles in fighting Covid-19 as no one was safe from the virus.
As of Wednesday, 879 people had died from Covid-19 while 29 408 were infected by the virus in Zimbabwe.
Minister Muswere said Government was tackling the surge in Covid-19 head-on and implored citizens to play their part.
“In order to deal with the current Covid-19 wave, Government is implementing the following measures: 500 new nursing posts are being created to augment staff complement at treatment centres, payment of the Covid-19 allowances to civil servants and pensioners has been extended indefinitely and risk allowances to frontline workers is being reviewed,” said Minister Muswere.
He said Government was further decongesting civil service as only 10 percent civil servants will report for duty in non essential service as part of the Covid-19 containment measures until Level Four lockdown is reviewed.
After Government imposed Level Four national lockdown at the beginning of the year, 30 percent of civil servants were reporting for duty.
Minister Muswere said Government recognises the sacrifices by some the frontline workers and will review their allowances.
“Government, through the national taskforce owes health workers a debt of gratitude.
“Those who work in the Red Zones which deal with the care of the Covid-19 patients will have their allowances reviewed with the intention of compensating them adequately,” said Minister Muswere.
He said Government has drawn a Draft Vaccination Framework Programme which it will share with the public in full realisaton that issues of vaccination have drawn a lot of attention from the public.
The Minister clarified that Government has not banned the movement of bodies for burial but strict regulations will be followed before the deceased are buried.
“Regarding burials, Government continues to respect family choices and preference regarding the last rites of the deceased family members. To that end, the movement of bodies has not been banned.
“For the avoidance of doubt, clearances to move the bodies have to be sought from the Ministry of Health and Child Care with emphasis on strict adherence to the following conditions: the Ministry of Health and Child Care will implement the relevant Covid-19 burial protocol; there will be no body viewing; transportation by the funeral services providers directly to burial sites; burial should be done immediately upon arrival and there should be a maximum of 30 mourners as per regulations,” he said.
Minister Muswere said it was worrying that the country was still recording high number of arrests of Covid-19 lockdown violators.
He said Government will continue to employ a multi-pronged approach in sensitising the public about Covid-19.
“In the fight, information plays a crucial role. An informed nation is a cooperating nation.
“The national taskforce wishes to thank the medical fraternity, traditional leaders, religious leaders, legislators and civil society organisations that are helping to cascade preventive and proactive measures to their communities.
“Fellow Zimbabweans, Government will do its utmost to save every one of us, but the ultimate responsibility rests with each individual to stay at home, mask up, sanitise and maintain physical distance. Together we can protect each other and together we can defeat this virus,” he said. — @nqotshili