Zimbabwe Response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak
The Chairman of the Ad-Hoc Inter-Ministerial Task Force on Covid-19, Honourable Vice President K.C.D. Mohadi, presented the weekly report on the national preparedness and response to the Covid-19 Outbreak, which was adopted by Cabinet. Cabinet was informed that the number of Covid-19 tests conducted so far had increased from 31 589 recorded on 17 May, 2020 to 38 656. To date, the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases stands at 132, up from the 56 cases recorded on 24 May, 2020. This translates to 76 new cases recorded over the two-day period.
Most of the tests which yielded these results were done on returnees who are quarantined in Masvingo, Beitbridge and Harare. The number of those who have recovered from Covid-19 infection has increased from eighteen (18) recorded on 17 May 2020 to the current twenty-five (25), while the number of deaths remains at four (4). The number of active cases now therefore stands at 103. The latest cases have largely been imported through returnees mainly from South Africa and Botswana. Only one case of local transmission has been recorded.
Cabinet was advised that Wilkins and Parirenyatwa Hospitals are now ready to admit critical patients, while Mater Dei and all Provincial Hospitals are ready to admit mild cases.
Meanwhile, security at quarantine centres is being tightened in order to ensure that those returning from abroad do not escape. Local traditional leaders and local authorities are enjoined to report known absconders and illegal returnees to authorities. With the opening of schools now imminent, Cabinet agreed that schools cease being used as quarantine centres for returnees in order to allow sufficient time for disinfection.
Cabinet further agreed as follows:
a) that additional PCR testing equipment and materials be purchased;
b) that priority for testing will be given to quarantine centres and those who came into contact with positive cases in testing for Covid-19; and
c) that funding for construction of border roads, procurement of drones and other related technical equipment in order to enable enforcement agents to effectively monitor the country’s borders will be prioritised.
Government emphasises that the country is still under lockdown and, as such, exemption letters for essential services are still required for movement of those concerned. Furthermore, failure to wear a face mask in public is an offence which is liable to a fine or imprisonment.
Cabinet also advises that His Excellency the President will be receiving donations from several companies at 1400 hours tomorrow (today). Any companies who wish to donate should contact the Civil Protection Unit (CPU) for arrangements.
State of the Economy
Cabinet received and expressed appreciation on the State of the Economy report presented by the Minister of Finance and Economic Development and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor. In tandem with other global economies, Zimbabwe’s economy has been negatively impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak and growth is expected to slow down. The drought experienced in the 2018-19 and the current season coupled with diminished access to external sources of foreign currency further compounded Zimbabwe’s economic situation.
There are however, a number of measures, both fiscal and monetary, that are being implemented to address the challenges that the country is going through in the absence of financial support from International Finance Institutions (IFIs). It is also stressed that the current price and foreign exchange rate fluctuations are clearly divorced from real economic fundamentals and can also be attributed to speculative tendencies. The Minister of Finance and Economic Development and the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe will announce measures which should see the situation stabilising in due course.
Payment of 30 percent Incentive for Early Delivery of Grain to the Grain Marketing Board
Cabinet considered and approved the payment of a 30 percent incentive to those farmers who deliver maize early to the Grain Marketing Board in order to maximise the delivery of maize. This is over and above the maize producer price which was recently announced by Government.
Launch of the Presidential Livestock Scheme by His Excellency the President
Cabinet advises that His Excellency the President will tomorrow (today) launch the Presidential Livestock Scheme at Cleveland Range at 0900 hours to support farmers in the livestock sector. Piglets for piggery projects will be distributed to farmers; colleges, universities and other interested institutions; war veterans; and youth and women groups at the event.