. . . new nurses to be recruited
Cabinet yesterday expressed concern over the on-going strike in the health sector and indicated that new, more committed nurses will be recruited to fill the void.
This was said by the Minister of Defence and War Veterans Affairs, as Deputy Chair of the Ad-Hoc Inter-Ministerial Task Force on COVID-19, during the twenty sixth post cabinet press briefing yesterday as he presented the weekly Report on the National Response to the COVID-19 Outbreak, which was adopted by Cabinet.
“Cabinet notes, with concern, that the on-going strike in the health sector is negatively affecting the national COVID-19 response. More nurses will be urgently recruited from the available pool of qualified nurses, while processes to resolve those on industrial action continue.
“In addition, to strengthen the COVID-19 response, Government will recruit additional staff to run PCR tests, including unemployed graduates. Modalities are also being put in place to enable industrial and innovation hubs to produce Viral Transport Media (VTM), a critical ingredient in PCR tests currently in short supply,” said the statement.
Cabinet further agreed that Covid-19 hotspots shall be quickly analysed with a view to implementing stricter lockdown measures so as to ensure behavioural change towards the disease in the areas.
Other measures are “that holding of Virtual Meetings shall be enhanced and that all Ministry staff reporting for duty shall be tested before assuming duty, while the outgoing group of workers is tested before leaving and upon return and that the Rapid Response Teams will be provided with the vehicles and allowances necessary to enable them to carry out their duties efficiently.”
The statement also touched on the allowances given to frontline workers.
“Social workers and other categories of staff providing documented COVID-19 frontline services at quarantine centres, public institutions and other areas will receive the same allowances as those given to health workers; (d) that the initial Official Communication of COVID-19 results shall be made by the Secretary for Health and Child Care and appropriate action will be taken against those who violate this standing directive; and (e) to expedite the secondment and recruitment of additional staff such as nurses, laboratory scientists so as to strengthen health delivery system and national response to the COVID-19 outbreak,” it read.
Cabinet also announced a 68 percent increase in the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases with 1000 new cases over the last eight days.
“Out of the 122 770 tests conducted throughout the country 2 704 were confirmed COVID-19 positive, compared to the 1 713 cases reported on 20 July, 2020. This translates to a 68% increase in the number of confirmed cases. Cabinet announces, with regret, that the total number of COVID-19 fatalities has increased to 36 from the 26 reported last week. Of particular concern is that cumulative number of confirmed local COVID-19 cases has increased by 112% from 791 to 1 675 during the past week.
“Most of the local cases are in Bulawayo (667), Harare (601) and Gweru (168). Cabinet, therefore, declared Gweru a hotspot of COVID-19, in addition to Harare and Bulawayo. Government is expediting efforts to put in place Rapid Result Test Teams to facilitate localized lockdowns in hotspot suburbs of the three cities.
“The number of those who have recovered has increased from the previously reported 472 to 542. This leaves the number of active cases at 2 126.”
To curb the further spread of Covid-19 among Government officials, the holding of meetings by virtual means will be enhanced.
Cabinet also announced that at universities and colleges, face-to-face classes have been suspended and lessons will be carried out online. Those who had started writing examinations will be allowed to complete them, while those who had not started their examinations will have them deferred.
In the business sector, Cabinet highlighted that employers are required to issue new letters to their employees.
“The letters should contain the list of all the employees at the company, which list must be authenticated and stamped by the Officer in Charge of the nearest Police Station. Individual employees shall be required to carry such letters at all times, together with their national identity cards.”
Government also reiterated that there should be strict adherence to cross-border burial guidelines throughout the country in order to curb the spread of the virus.
“Furthermore, the limit of 50 people at gatherings should be strictly followed, especially at funeral wakes and church services. Municipal police, the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the local community leadership will work together to ensure that communities bury their loved ones within the strict confines of the law,”