President hints at tightening lockdown

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Herald Reporter
AMID an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases including deaths, President Mnangagwa yesterday hinted that the Government could scale up preventive and containment measures.

Addressing the Zanu PF Ordinary Session of the Politburo meeting at the revolutionary party headquarters in Harare, President Mnangagwa, who is the party’s First Secretary, said the rapid spike in infections required another review of the Covid-19 lockdown measures currently at level 2.

“Although there is a visible spike in the number of positive cases, largely due to returnees, we shall continue to strengthen our preventive measures as well as our testing, and contact tracing capacity.

“I urge the party to continue to be in the forefront of raising the awareness levels in our communities of the dangers of this pandemic. The recent rapid spike of infections requires that we make another review of the Covid-19 lockdown measures,’’ he said.

His comments come at a time when experts, including the World Health Organisation (WHO) have called upon the country to tighten the Covid-19 containment measures in the wake of complacency among the public.

On Tuesday three people succumbed to the novel pandemic, bringing to 12 the number of fatalities since the first death in March this year, infections from the contagion stand at more than 900 cases.

In his address, that also touched on the country’s economic recovery path, through interventions from the Government, the President said price stability is now returning after the exposure of businesses that were bleeding the economy, through underhand dealings bordering on criminality.

“I am happy to note that stability is returning to the financial services sector and a trend is emerging showing the reduction of prices. As Government, we envisage a situation where foreign currency resources and raw materials are improved for the productive sector as this will result in increased availability and affordability of goods as well as the creation of jobs,” he said.

The recent introduction of the Foreign Currency Auction System that has stabilised the macro-economic environment also has the potential of taming the ever escalating prices that were pegged against a fictitious run-away black market rate.

Despite the dark cloud that has been cast by the Covid-19 pandemic, that has wrecked world economies as well as killing thousands of people worldwide, President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe continued to witness various developments across all sectors.

For instance, notwithstanding successive droughts, the crucial agricultural sector particularly, the golden leaf tobacco continues to reap rich dividends for the country.

“There is need to continuously review our strategies with regards to making sure that the winter wheat targets are met through both increased hectares planted and yields produced per hectare”.

President Mnangagwa arrives for a Politburo meeting accompanied by Zanu PF acting secretary for Information and Publicity Cde Patrick Chinamasa in Harare yesterday

The President said Pfumvudza Farming, an agricultural concept that entails utilisation of conservative methods towards the agricultural recovery plan, which is a brainchild of the Revolutionary Party as espoused in the 2018 winning People’s Manifesto has been well received by “our people and I commend the structures of the party for their role in popularising it and mobilising our people to be production oriented”.

With water levels in Kariba Dam increasing and with it increased power generation, the President said power cuts will be reduced while industrial productivity will be enhanced.

“On energy, the water inflow into Kariba Dam is set to increase our hydro-power generation capacity thereby reducing power cuts as well as our import bill. Greater efforts must be made to ensure that power on the national grid is used for the productive sector. Hence the use of green energy solutions for domestic purposes must be encouraged and popularised.

“The construction of Hwange 7 and 8 is on course and I will soon visit Matabeleland North to tour other mining developments which will have a positive bearing on our country’s self-energy self-sufficient,” he said.

In addition, President Mnangagwa said road construction and other infrastructure projects are progressing well.

Treasury recently released money towards the construction of Causeway Dam as well as Gwayi-Shangani Dam among other development projects.

‘’Resources for road rehabilitation and bridge construction are also ongoing. Interventions by Government have seen a notable improvement in the water situation in the City of Bulawayo while other strategies are being developed to improve water and sanitation in other towns and cities throughout the country,” he said.

President Mnangagwa emphasised the need to facilitate a people- centred economic development that would ensure equitable development towards the attainment of Vision 2030 and challenged party members to work closely with the Government.

Meanwhile, while speaking at a press briefing soon after the 341 Ordinary Session of the Politburo, Zanu PF acting Secretary for Information and Publicity Cde Patrick Chinamasa said the Politburo meeting deliberated on a number of issues relating to the status of the economy, the Covid-19 pandemic and the threats posed by the country’s erstwhile enemies.

Cde Chinamasa said the Politburo heard a presentation from the Minister of Industry and Commerce Dr Sekai Nzenza that focused on the programmes that her ministry was undertaking in response to the devastating effects of Covid-19 on industries, including import substitution in the wake of the pandemic.

Apart from Dr Nzenza’s presentation, the Politburo deliberated on a comprehensive report from the Covid-19 Taskforce Chairperson, Vice President Kembo Mohadi

“The meeting applauded the work that has been done thus far, which has been seen the death rate relatively low despite the latest increase of positive cases to 936 due to returnees from other countries,”

On people escaping from quarantine facilities around the country, the Politburo called for greater cooperation between the Ministry of Health and Child Care and security forces.

“The chairperson of the Covid-19 taskforce, however, noted that the taskforce had faced challenges of quarantine escapees now numbering 194 but all have been traced successfully,” he said.

Cde Chinamasa said the taskforce had been given a nod for the re-opening of education centres under strict Covid-19 guidelines.

“Universities and other institutions of higher learning have also been given the greenlight on condition that they met the required guidelines. The same equally, on the tourism and hospitality sector”.

Cde Chinamasa said the Politburo commended the philanthropic work being done by the First Lady Amai Mnangagwa for her charity work and commitment to reduce the spread of the pandemic.