1. ZIMBABWE’S RESPONSE TO THE CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) OUTBREAK
Cabinet was briefed by the Honourable Vice President K. C. D. Mohadi, as Chairman of the Ad Hoc Inter-Ministerial Task Force on the COVID-19, on the steps that were being taken to contain the spread of the pandemic.
The cumulative rapid screening and PCR tests conducted as of 6 July, 2020 are 80 654 (47 086 RDT and 33 568 PCR) inclusive of tests done at private laboratories. The country has now recorded seven hundred and thirty-four (734) COVID-19 confirmed cases. Of these 528 are active cases, with 197 recoveries and nine (9) deaths.The eighth death is of a 21-year-old female with no travel history but with co-morbidities (leukemia), while the ninth death is of a 54 year old male with co-morbidities.
Of the 734 confirmed cases, 113 are local cases. Eighty-eight (88) of the local cases can be linked to known confirmed cases, while the other 25 cannot be immediately linked to a confirmed case. Investigations are underway to establish the sources of infection. Harare has the highest number of cases (245)which are mainly imported cases, while Bulawayo has recorded the highest number of local cases (50). Local transmissionsin the country currently stand at 16% of the total casesrecorded. The cases so far recorded in the country, however, do not have a specific trend and are largely influenced by the volumes of returnees. There are currently no cases admitted in High Dependency Unit (HDU) and Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
Cabinet approved the adoption of the new Guidelines set by the World Health Organisation (WHO), which regulate the discharge of COVID-19 patients from isolation centres. This should see the easing of the situation in the quarantine and isolation centres. Implementation of the new Guidelines will lead to a reduction in the number of days that people will spend in the quarantine and isolation facilities and the number of re-tests to be conducted. According to the new Guidelines, people with symptoms will now spend a minimum of 13 days in isolation and a minimum of 10 days for asymptomatic patients instead of the 21 days following two (2) consecutive negative PCR results that are 24 hours apart. Patients who continue to test positive are presently not being discharged. Thenew WHOcriteria for discharging patients from isolation are as follows:
For symptomatic patients:they should be discharged after a minimum of 13 days. The days include a minimum of 10 days after symptom onset (fever and respiratory symptoms) and an additional 3 days without symptoms.
For asymptomatic cases: these can be discharged 10 days after they would have had a positive test for COVID-19.
The nation is being advised that examination classes (Grade 7, Form 4 and Form 6) will resume lessons on the 28 July, 2020 for both public and private schools. Private Schools should formally engage the Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education if they need further clarification on issues that are peculiar to their operations.
Under the cash transfers to the informal sector members affected by COVID-19, a total of 202 077 people had been paid cushioning allowances. The provinces have been asked to provide more names to reach the targeted one million beneficiaries.
2. UPDATE ON THE GASTROINTESTINAL DISEASE OUTBREAK IN LUVEVE, BULAWAYO
The Minister of Local Government and Public Works updated Cabinet on the Gastrointestinal disease outbreak in Luveve, Bulawayo where a total of 1 798 cases had been attended to both at home and clinic. A total of thirteen deaths been recorded to date.
Government is carrying out the following interventions:
I. Waiving of water-shedding in the affected area;
II. Risk communication and community engagement;
III. Waiver of user fees for cases fitting the Gastro-Intestinal disease case definition;
IV. Distribution of oral rehydration salts and placing neighbouring health facilities on high alert;
V. Conducting house-to-house surveys to actively find more diarrhea cases;
VI. Collecting water samples for analysis; and
VII. Following up on community deaths with Luveve Police Station.
3. NATIONAL TOURISM RECOVERY AND GROWTH PLAN POST COVID-19 PANDEMIC
The Minister of Finance and Economic Development, as Chairman of the Cabinet Committee on National Development Planning briefed Cabinet on the Tourism Recovery and Growth Strategy, which seeks to revive and grow the Tourism Sector into a US$5 billion industry by 2023. Cabinet approved the Plan
As part of the pillars of the recovery strategies, it should be recalled that Government has already put in place a Tourism Sector Support Scheme under the Stimulus Package, whose key aspects are as follows: a Government Guarantee Facility of ZW$500 000 000.00; a ZW$20 000 000.00 Tourism Revolving Fund; a waiver of Value Added Tax (VAT) on domestic tourism; deferment of liquidation of foreign currency paid by international clients;support for Zimbabwe Tourism Authority; and payment of money owed to Tourism Operators by various Government Institutions. The financial support will enable the sector to expand, refurbish and modernise their facilities in line with international standards.
The strategies will involve Domestic Tourism Promotion; Regional Tourism Promotion; Destination Branding and Image Transformation; Digital Marketing Campaign; Diaspora Tourism Promotion and International Tourism Promotion. The other strategies also include Promotion of Meeting Incentives Conferences and Events (MICE) Tourism; Wide Scale Roll-out of the Service Excellence Programme; Tourism Health, Safety and Hygiene Protocols; and the development of a Tourism Communication Plan.
4. PROPOSAL ON THE 2020 WINTER MAIZE PRODUCTION PROGRAMME
Cabinet considered and approved the 2020 Winter Maize Production Programme, which was presented by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture. Water and Rural Resettlement, as Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Food Security and Nutrition. The Programme is targeting to put 4000 hectares under winter maize in Zimbabwe’s low-lying areas of Masvingo, Matebeleland North and Mashonaland West. A cost-benefit analysis of the Programme reveals that it will result in substantial savings in comparison to importing the same amount of maize. Other benefits of the Programme include the following: maximization of land use; ensuring food supply sufficiency as most countries are not likely to export due to the COVID 19 pandemic; employment creation for locals along the whole value chain of maize production; and reduction of the burden of support on Treasury since the programme is run on a cost-recovery basis.
5. REPORT ON PHASE I OF THE COMPREHENSIVE NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL LAND AUDIT
The Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Water and Rural Resettlement presented a Report on Phase I of the Comprehensive National Agricultural Land Audit, which was adopted by Cabinet. Phase I covered eighteen thousand six hundred and forty-six (18 646) land units, representing 6% of the estimated three hundred thousand (300 000) total land units to be audited. Phase II covering 38 000 land units has already been undertaken and the report will soon be presented. Phase III will cover 242 000 units. Arising from today’s presentation, the following key decisions were made:
(i) That the issuance of tenure documents will be expedited;
(ii) That married beneficiaries will be given joint tenure documents to protect spouses on land ownership;
(iii) That the 255 abandoned land units and 112 vacant land units will be re-allocated to deserving applicants;
(iv) That 24 farms under multiple farm ownership will be withdrawn and re-allocated to deserving applicants;
(v) That the 71 identified farms exceeding the maximum gazetted sizes will be downsized and measures are being put in place to safeguard production thereof.
Allocation of land will be in line with the gazetted policy quotas with respect to War Veterans, Women, Youths and People living with Disabilities.
6. MBUYANEHANDA MEMORIAL MONUMENT
Government has approved the erection of a statue of the iconic and gallant heroine of the 1stChimurenga/Umvhukela MbuyaNehanda. Befittingly the monument will be located at the intersection of Samora Machel Avenue and Julius Nyerere Way. Work has already started and is being implemented by an inter-agency team which is supervised by Honourable Vice President Chiwenga. The Agencies are drawn from the Ministries of Transport and Infrastructural Development; Local Government and Public Works; and Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage.
Civil works and fabrication are already in progress, while the statue is already being moulded by a Zimbabwean artist. Construction is expected to be completed within two months.
Meanwhile, traffic will be re-routed by City of Harare Technicians and other partners.