Chronicle Reporter
Government has said it will soon start paying civil servants who are not in the health sector Covid-19 allowances.

In a media briefing, the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Monica Mutsvangwa, said the nation witnessed a further jump in its confirmed cases in the past week, with local cases as of Sunday standing at 2 828, a 98 percent increase from last week’s figure of 1 426.

She said Covid-19 is now in communities and there is need to adhere to protective and preventative measures.

“The taskforce received an update on the payment modalities for all non-health frontline staff allowances which are being finalised. The allowances will be paid according to the different risk categories which are low, medium and high. The non-health frontline workers will receive their allowances backdated since they had not yet started receiving these. Embassy staff is to be also considered as frontline workers as they are involved in repatriations,” she said.

The Minister said the number of PCR tests done per week has doubled with average tests per day standing at 1 130 as compared to 559 from the week ending July 24.

Minister Mutsvangwa said the Ministry of Health and Child Care will be flighting a 72-hour tender on August 4 for the procurement of 4 PCR machines, 220 000 PCR test kits, 25 000 antigen RDTs and other laboratory consumables.

“Resultantly, in order to address testing backlog and delays in the issuance of test results, the Taskforce was informed that Laboratory Staff at Mpilo (Bulawayo) and St Luke’s’ (Lupane) Hospitals have been trained to use the Abbott Platform which will assist in clearing the backlog at the National TB Reference Laboratory (NTBRL) in Bulawayo. Meanwhile, an Information Technology solution on the issuance of results is being developed by the Ministry of Health and Child Care in collaboration with the Harare Institute of Technology to reduce the delays in the issuance of results,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.

She said an analysis of Covid-19 hotspots continues to be made across the country in order to channel the proper resources to these hotspots.

The Minister said the latest hotspots to be analysed are the fresh vegetable markets in Harare and Bulawayo.

“It was noted that persons from different environs visit these markets and testing would give an indication of infection rates. The Harare Rapid Response Teams conducted tests at Mbare Musika yesterday and today and of those tested, 7 (8.75 percent) were positive. It was also noted that there is high risk posed by these markets which include: crowding of clients, poor sanitation conditions for vendors and no easy donning of masks by the general public and vendors. This errant behaviour in the form of continued disregard of Covid-19 containment measures which includes physical distancing, wearing of face masks and sanitisation is also being witnessed in public spaces such as supermarkets, malls and banking halls,” she said.

The Minister said four additional Rapid Response Teams are now being established, two for Chitungwiza, one for Ruwa and one for Epworth.

“Treasury has allocated Harare ZWL$10 million, Bulawayo ZWL$6 million and Chitungwiza ZWL$2.5 million for the Covid-19 teams especially for Rapid Response Teams,” she added.