ZIMBABWE’S RESPONSE TO THE CORONAVIRUS OUTBREAK
Cabinet received from the Honourable Vice President KCD.Mohadi, as chairman of the Ad Hoc Inter-Ministerial Task Force on the Covid-19, an update on the steps that are being taken to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The cumulative rapid screening and PCR tests conducted as of 3 August, 2020 are 137 808 (73 174 RDT and 64 634 PCR).
The country has recorded a cumulative 4 075 confirmed Covid-19 cases compared to the previously reported 2 704, which is a 51 percent increase, while the cumulative number of confirmed local cases has risen by 78 percent from the previously reported 1 675 to 2 982.
Most of the local cases are in Harare (1 299), Bulawayo (947), Midlands Province (245), Mashonaland East (161) and Manicaland (113).
Recoveries have increased by 95 percent from 542 to 1 057, while deaths increased by 122 percent from 36 to 80.
In light of the spike in Covid-19 cases, the number of PCR tests done per week has doubled with the average tests per day standing at 1 130 as compared to 559 from the week ending 24 July 2020. Seventy-five percent of the tests are being conducted by the public sector.
As a precautionary measure to curb the transmission of Covid-19 at food markets, which are characterised by crowding, poor sanitisation and lack of reticulated water, Cabinet resolved as follows:
That the restructuring of the vegetable markets bays in line with Covid-19 protocols be done in all vegetable markets;
That markets operate a six-day-cycle with mandatory closure for disinfection on the seventh day;
That all vendors at stalls should exercise extreme precaution like the use of sanitisers and consistent hand-washing with soap and running water; and
That a targeted Information Education Campaign be conducted to promote a new-normal among traders and customers at these markets. Government will also come up with measures to be enforced in other places where people converge in large numbers.
Cabinet has directed that all hospitals should admit patients without the pre-requirement for a prior Covid-19 test result and proceed to do a PCR test on admission.
To that end, the Ministry of Health and Child Care has already directed all public and private health institutions to establish Patient-Under-Investigation (PUI) zones to ensure that no patients are turned away.
In terms of preparedness, the nation is informed that Wilkins and United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH) are now admitting mild to moderate cases.
The recruitment of nursing staff is already underway. In the same vein, His Excellency the President has appealed to the striking nursing personnel to return to work such that the loss of lives can be minimised.
Following recent developments in South Africa, where the time of storage of bodies has been reduced, Cabinet resolved to grant the Zimbabwe mission in South Africa a special waiver during the Covid-19 pandemic period to clear the repatriation of undocumented Zimbabwean bodies for burial back home on the basis of submitted affidavits from the chief/village head and relatives in Zimbabwe.
Cabinet is appealing for responsible behaviour and calls on all social media users to desist from posting or peddling falsehoods on Covid-19 that may cause despondency and alarm in the nation.
The public is reminded that the peddling of falsehoods is a punishable offence in terms of the Covid-19 regulations.
RECOMMENDATIONS FROM THE 2018 AND 2019 ANNUAL REPORTS OF THE NATIONAL PEACE AND RECONCILIATION COMMISSION
Vice President KCD Mohadi, as chairman of the Cabinet Committee on National Peace and Reconciliation, presented recommendations from the 2018 and 2019 annual reports of the National Peace and Reconciliation Commission, which were adopted by Cabinet.
The Vice President will present the recommendations to Parliament in due course as required by the Constitution. Highlights of the recommendations include the following:
That legislation and a code of conduct will be put in place to regulate the operations and conduct of all political parties;
That campaigning against one’s country shall be legislated at law and criminalised;
That existing laws shall be strengthened to include elements that foster tolerance, equality and social cohesion among Zimbabweans as well as prohibit hate speech by public officials, media houses and citizens in public spaces and social, print and electronic media platforms;
That the public should be educated on the Security Services’ complaints handling and feedback mechanisms;
That the development of the Witness Protection Bill be expedited; and
That historians will be resourced to document inclusive story lines that reframe and capture agreeable narratives about Zimbabwe’s history.
MOSI-OA-TUNYA DEVELOPMENT COMPANY
Cabinet considered and adopted a report on the operations of Mosi-Oa-Tunya Development Company, which was presented by the Minister of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry.
The company was formed in 2012, as an investment vehicle for the Government in the development of tourism facilities in Victoria Falls. It assisted in mobilising resources for the development of infrastructure and facilities for the hosting of the 2013 United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General Assembly, with initial focus being on the construction of an Integrated Tourism Resort comprising a 5 000-seater Convention Centre as the anchor project.
The 271-hectare piece of land earmarked for this development, which unfortunately failed to take off, has now been identified as the future growth node of Victoria Falls Town.
To operationalise developments on the 271-heactare land, Mosi-Oa-Tunya has developed a draft concept plan, which identifies the projects to be undertaken in the different zones as well as the infrastructure required to attract investment into the area.
Preparations for a comprehensive master plan covering 1 200 hectares in the Masuwe Estate land area are being spearheaded by an Inter-Ministerial Committee of officials and ZIDA. To give impetus to the Victoria Falls tourist and investment Special Economic Zone, Cabinet resolved to expedite processes for the completion of the master plan for the whole of Victoria Falls.
Currently, Mosi-Oa-Tunya Development Company is working with a private sector concern to conduct feasibility studies for the proposed Victoria Falls Integrated Tourism Park in Masuwe Estate. This will pave way for the development of bulk infrastructure facilities at the site. Projects earmarked for this phase include hotels, shopping malls, a medical facility, a convention centre and an upmarket golf course.
GAZETTING OF THE VICTORIA FALLS STOCK EXCHANGE
Cabinet advises, with pleasure, that Statutory Instrument 196 of 2020 which operationalises the Victoria Falls Stock Exchange was gazetted on Monday 3 August, 2020.
The Statutory Instrument outlines the exchange control regulations for investment and trading on the bourse.
This sets the process for the actualisation of the Victoria Falls financial hub Special Economic Zone on a firm footing.