Roundup: Zimbabwean government remains wary of new COVID-19 wave

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, November 18, 2021
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by Tichaona Chifamba

HARARE, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- The Zimbabwean government remains wary of a possible 4th wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, despite cases of infections and deaths declining.

As a result, the government has extended COVID-19 restrictive measures by a further two weeks saying that this would allow more people to be vaccinated.

As of Nov. 16, the country's cumulative COVID-19 cases stood at 133,505 with 4,698 deaths and 128,337 recoveries.

The recovery rate was 96 percent, with 470 cases remaining active.

The extension of the restrictions was also made against a background of many people becoming more relaxed and failing to adhere to preventive measures such as social distancing, wearing of face masks in public and constant sanitization and washing of hands.

Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said at a post-Cabinet meeting briefing Tuesday that the extension of the Level-2 lockdown measures would allow more people to get vaccinated, as the government opens up vaccinations for the 16-17 year-age group.

"Cabinet would also like to announce the extension of the Level-2 lockdown by an additional 2 weeks to enable all to heighten vaccination uptake in order to protect the nation against a possible 4th wave of the pandemic," she said.

Prior to the expansion of the program, only those aged 18 years and above were eligible for vaccination.

The program is progressing steadily, albeit on the slow side, with 3,514,286 people having received their first dose and 2,712,979 their second dose by Tuesday.

The government hopes to have at least 10 million people vaccinated so as to achieve herd immunity in the country.

Mutsvangwa said the case figures indicated that the national response measures instituted by the government continued to pay off and that the pandemic was being brought under control.

"Government, nonetheless, continues to call upon citizens to strictly observe the national and World Health Organization COVID-19 protocols as well as to get vaccinated to prevent a 4th wave of the COVID-19 outbreak," she said.

She said the cumulative weekly total number for both doses of vaccines administered during the past week increased to 144,253 from the 114,873 administered the previous week.

This indicated that the provincial vaccination blitz launched in October was yielding the desired results.

"Focus continues to be on achieving the end of year national and global target of total population coverage of 60 percent and 40 percent, respectively. To this end, members of the public are urged to present themselves for vaccination as provincial vaccination teams have ramped up implementation of their respective district vaccination micro-plans, including mobilization campaigns," she said.

She added that 435,600 doses were received on Nov. 5, bringing the cumulative number of vaccines received to date to 13.2 million doses.

"Government takes this opportunity to assure the nation that most of the country's vaccines still have some years to go before expiration," she said. Enditem

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