INFORMATION, publicity and broadcasting services minister, honorable Monica Mutsvangwa says goverment has commenced provision of portable water to Bulawayo residents in the midst of the ongoing diarrhoel epidemic that has already claimed five lives in the city.
In a media brief, minister Mutsvangwa said the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic should divert attention from other health issues.
“Whilst focusing on protecting the nation from COVID19, Government has not lost sight of other health challenges bedeviling our communities. It is in this context that the Taskforce noted with sadness the Typhoid and Dysentery in some Bulawayo suburbs. So far, Bulawayo has reported five community and seven hospital deaths.
“Government has therefore embarked on an intensive bulk water trucking programme to affected communities. Water samples from these areas are also undergoing analysis,” said minister Mutsvangwa.
She added that government has also identified hotels to be used as qurantine centres for frontline health workers and their families.
“On another note, Government values the safety of health workers and their families. To protect frontline workers’ families from possible infections, Crown Plaza, Marondera Hotel and Khayela Guest Lodge are being used for quarantining frontline staff at Government’s expense.
“The Taskforce was informed that Treasury has concurred to the recruitment of an additionally 500 health workers including doctors, nurses, and technicians for ICU/HDU and Isolation centres across the country. This recruitment will go a long way in boosting our health services’ capacity to respond and treat COVID19 cases.”
She also said the country has witnessed a surge in positive cases, especially among returnees. There are 1770 returnees in quarantine facilities across the country, with the highest number of returnees being housed in Harare.
“The Taskforce has noted that while the standard procedure according to WHO guidelines is the self-solation of asymptomatic positive cases, there are some cases that are unable to self-isolate in their homes. Such cases are being housed at isolation centres intended for those who require treatment.
“It has also been noted that there are some cases that have the capacity to self-isolate but are not adhering to self-isolation protocols and are putting communities at risk. We have recommended that all positive cases at private and public quarantine facilities be moved to specific isolation centres in order to prevent the further spread of COVID19.”
She also noted that there has been a sharp demand for sanitizers due to the national requirement that all entities have sanitizer /wash facilities at entry points.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development and from the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education briefed the task-force on the re-opening plans and Standard Operating Procedures for the Prevention and Management of COVID19 at learning institutions.
“‘The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation, Science and Technology Development presented detailed individual State Universities and Colleges re-opening plans in light of the COVID19 pandemic.
By way of summary of this report, measures being taken to combat COVID19, tertiary education students, visitors and staff are as follows:
“All Tertiary Education institutions are required to have ONE or, at most TWO, entrances to the entire institution, all students and staff entering and exiting the institution cited above shall be required to go through screening, Institution shall ensure students and employees are educated on the symptoms and the measures to take if COVID 19 symptoms manifest, a capacity utilization chart/timetable shall be provided to Ministry Tertiary Education Compliance Inspectors satisfactorily adjusted to ensure that all classrooms observe and maintain acceptable physical distancing.”
Also depending on student volumes, timetables may have to be adjusted to ensure an even wider spread of students.