Saturday, 18 April 2020

ED TO DECIDE ON LOCKDOWN EXTENSION TODAY


PRESIDENT Mnangagwa is today expected to update the nation on whether the 21-day lockdown put in place as a measure to curb the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19), which is coming to an end at midnight, will be extended or not.

The announcement will be based on resolutions that will be made after the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on Covid-19 meeting today. In making the decision to lift or extend the lockdown, authorities are expected to factor in suggestions from assessments made in all the country’s 10 provinces on the nationwide capacity to combat the virus.

The President declared the nationwide 21-day lockdown that started on 30 March as part of means of preventing the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, which to date has infected over two million people globally, with over 150 000 succumbing to the virus. In Zimbabwe as of last

Friday the country had recorded 24 positive cases including two recoveries and three deaths. Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa yesterday said that the announcement on the next course of action would be made today.

“As you are aware, it was the President who made the announcement when the lockdown was announced. As the chair of the Cabinet taskforce, we will seek direction from him on the next course of action and it will be announced after the taskforce meeting which will be held tomorrow (today),” she said.

A number of nations, including Zimbabwe’s neighbours South Africa have extended their respective lockdowns with varying days citing need for more days to curb the spread of the pandemic in their countries. Delivering his Independence Day speech yesterday, President Mnangagwa paid gratitude to the nation for its response to the pandemic, especially regarding the collective appreciation and honouring of the 21-day lockdown. He applauded the various sectors that had combined forces in terms of fight against the spread of the pandemic noting that with unity, love and common purpose nothing can prevail against the nation.

“I equally want to thank some countries and partners from abroad such as the People’s Republic of China, United Kingdom, United States of America, United Arab Emirates, European Union, the World Health Organisation and other United Nations Agencies, as well as the Jack-Ma Foundation, among many other international organisations and well-wishers, who have generously supported our fight against Covid-19. 

“40 years after Independence, let us remain hopeful and steadfast in spirit. Vision 2030 is alive and beyond Covid-19, its accomplishment must be accelerated. Our present experiences, in the wake of this pandemic, teach us that friends and investors may assist us. However, it is the collective efforts of all of our nationals across all sectors, that will make the difference,” said President Mnangagwa.

According to the figures released by the Ministry of Health and Child Care on Friday, the country has carried out a total of 1 194 tests of which 24 have been confirmed as positive. Bulawayo still tops the list with 10 positive cases followed by Harare at nine, Mashonaland East at four and Matabeleland North at one. National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said as of yesterday, 8 673 people had been arrested for defying the lockdown.

“Bulawayo had the greatest number of people at 1 887, while Manicaland had 1 724. In Harare 1 081 people were arrested while the figure was 1 217 for the Midlands. Other provinces recorded less than 1 000 arrests,” he said

Meanwhile, 400 deportees who are quarantined at various centres in Bulawayo will only be released if they test negative in the tests they will be subjected to during their time in isolation. Bulawayo recieved deportees who had been moved from their previous quarantine centre, Plumtree High School last Saturday. They were moved with the intention of easing crowding while providing them with better living conditions. Some are housed at Bulawayo Polytechnic while others are at the United College of Education (UCE). The initial batch of deportees were expected to spend nine more days at the centres before they are released after spending six days in quarantine in Plumtree.

Bulawayo Provincial Medical Director Dr Welcome Mlilo explained the process that those in quarantine would have to go through before their release.

“They will undergo Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs) on contact and 14 days later. These are like the tests we do for Malaria or for HIV. Health workers prick your finger and collect blood sample which is administered to a small cartridge. A buffer is added. In 15 minutes, you get a result. These test for antibodies the body produces in response to an infection, in this case the Covid-19 virus. We are using these for screening purposes, not as a diagnostic test. If one tests positive on RDT, we go on to confirm with Deoxyribonucleic Acid Polymerase Chain Reaction (DNA PCR) test,” said Dr Mlilo.

He said that should they be negative results in both tests, those individuals would then be released with the Social Welfare Department expected to take care of their transportation to their respective homes.
who have generously supported our fight against Covid-19.

“40 years after Independence, let us remain hopeful and steadfast in spirit. Vision 2030 is alive and beyond Covid-19, its accomplishment must be accelerated. Our present experiences, in the wake of this pandemic, teach us that friends and investors may assist us. However, it is the collective efforts of all of our nationals across all sectors, that will make the difference,” said President Mnangagwa.

According to the figures released by the Ministry of Health and Child Care on Friday, the country has carried out a total of 1 194 tests of which 24 have been confirmed as positive. Bulawayo still tops the list with 10 positive cases followed by Harare at nine, Mashonaland East at four and Matabeleland North at one. National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said as of yesterday, 8 673 people had been arrested for defying the lockdown.

“Bulawayo had the greatest number of people at 1 887, while Manicaland had 1 724. In Harare 1 081 people were arrested while the figure was 1 217 for the Midlands. Other provinces recorded less than 1 000 arrests,” he said

Meanwhile, 400 deportees who are quarantined at various centres in Bulawayo will only be released if they test negative in the tests they will be subjected to during their time in isolation. Bulawayo received deportees who had been moved from their previous quarantine centre, Plumtree High School last Saturday. They were moved with the intention of easing crowding while providing them with better living conditions. Some are housed at Bulawayo Polytechnic while others are at the United College of Education (UCE). The initial batch of deportees were expected to spend nine more days at the centres before they are released after spending six days in quarantine in Plumtree.
Bulawayo Provincial Medical Director Dr Welcome Mlilo explained the process that those in quarantine would have to go through before their release.

“They will undergo Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs) on contact and 14 days later. These are like the tests we do for malaria or for HIV. Health workers prick your finger and collect a blood sample which is administered to a small cartridge. A buffer is added. in 15 minutes, you get a result. These test for antibodies the body produces in response to an infection, in this case the Covid-19 virus. We are using these for screening purposes, not as a diagnostic test. If one tests positive on RDT, we go on to confirm with Deoxyribonucleic Acid Polymerase Chain Reaction (DNA PCR) test,” said Dr Mlilo.

He said should there be negative results in both tests, those individuals would then be released with the Social Welfare Department expected to take care of their transportation to their respective homes. Sunday Mail

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