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No plans for fresh lockdown

by Staff reporter
06 Jun 2021 at 09:50hrs | Views
THERE are no plans to reintroduce a fresh hard national lockdown to forestall the threat of a Covid-19 third wave and Government will focus on fine-tuning the national vaccination programme to hasten the attainment of herd immunity.

Authorities last week finalised a new vaccine redistribution strategy, which will see vaccine doses stored at centres where there is low uptake being redistributed to those where there is appetite for immunisation in order to inject fresh impetus into the vaccination drive.

Demand for vaccines has dramatically increased with the onset of the winter season and the recent granting of authorisation for emergency use of Sinopharm - one of the vaccines being used in the country - by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Zimbabwe is currently under Level Three of lockdown restrictions, which allows for relaxed movement, longer opening hours for businesses, including the informal sector and a less restrictive night curfew.

The country recorded 884 new cases of Covid-19 last month, while 146 cases have been recorded during the first week of June.

Posting on micro-blogging website, Twitter, yesterday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services secretary, Mr Nick Mangwana, said reports circulating on social media that Government intends to announce a new lockdown were false.

He urged the public to remain vigilant and take preventative measures.

"We have been made aware of circulating messages claiming that there is an impending lockdown. There are no such current plans," Mr Mangwana said.

"Let's remain cautious and take all protective measures, get vaccinated and encourage each other to do the same."

Chief Co-ordinator of the National Response to the Covid-19 pandemic in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Dr Agnes Mahomva, told The Sunday Mail that a new batch of vaccines that have been procured by Government will be delivered imminently.

She said the new vaccine distribution plan will ensure that there are no stock-outs at centres where there is huge demand for inoculation.

"We are redistributing from areas that had initially received the vaccines but have low uptake to areas where there is high uptake," said Dr Mahomva.

"In short, we are simply taking vaccines from areas where there is little uptake to areas with high uptake.

"There still are vaccines in our stocks so there is no need to panic because there are enough doses.

"We are also expecting vaccines any minute from now since they have already been procured."

Some vaccination centres in Harare and Bulawayo have reported vaccine stock-outs in recent weeks, threatening to derail the national vaccination programme.

The Ministry of Health and Child Care announced on Friday that additional doses of vaccines had been secured for Harare.

"The Ministry of Health has mobilised vaccines for those in Harare Province in need of Sinovac second doses," said the Ministry in a statement.

"Those who are due for that second dose can access it at Parirenyatwa, Sally Mugabe and Chitungwiza Central Hospitals."

Harare City health director, Dr Prosper Chonzi, said: "Wilkins Hospital has the highest number of people who need second doses, so we are still working on the logistics.

"However, for now the doses have been redistributed to Parirenyatwa and Sally Mugabe hospitals."

Zimbabwe plans to vaccinate around 10 million people by year-end in order to attain national herd immunity.

As at Friday, over 1,05 million people had received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

A total of 685 564 people had received the first dose, while 370 674 had been administered the second jab.

Treasury has set aside US$10 million to procure Covid-19 vaccines, with over 1,2 million Sinovac vaccines having already been delivered from China.

Government has also received donations of 400 000 Sinopharm vaccines from the Chinese government and an additional 35 000 from the government of India.

The Zimbabwe Defence Forces has received a donation of 100 000 Sinopharm doses from the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA).

An additional 500 000 Sinopharm vaccines are expected from China soon.

Zimbabwe currently leads all of mainland southern Africa in terms of procuring and administering vaccines.

Source - sundaymail
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