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Mnangagwa hails Zimbabweans for lockdown determination

by Staff reporter
04 Apr 2020 at 08:21hrs | Views
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday hailed Zimbabweans for complying with the regulations of the 21-day national lockdown to prevent the spread of Covid-19, with the number of infections around the world shooting to one million people and 58 000 deaths.

The country has since recorded nine positive cases of Covid-19, one of them fatal, with the President saying the measures put in place to prevent the spread of the virus are paying off and emphasising on the need to trade-in personal comforts and liberties in order to stay alive.

In an address to the nation at State House in Harare yesterday, President Mnangagwa said the global galloping figures may mean that the risk to the country is rising by the day and commended Zimbabweans for their determination and sacrifice during the lockdown. The President said the approaching winter season brings greater vulnerabilities and the country cannot afford to be deceived by the small numbers of infections but must continue to scale up preparations.

He said he was pleased that some businesses have risen to the challenge, with many enterprises reducing their manning levels and where possible, encouraging sections of their workforce to operate from home. President Mnangagwa also applauded the businesses for organising safe transport to and from work, fortifying the immunities of their workforce through the provision of vitamin supplements, and ensuring safe, social distance at the workplaces.

"Only last week, I directed a total lockdown of our society for a duration of 21 days. As your President, I am proud of the way most of you have responded to the lockdown. Except where absolutely necessary, you have stayed at home, together with your families.

"You have observed and voluntarily enforced social distance and religiously followed routines of basic hygiene, as recommended by the World Health Organisation. Social interactions have either stopped or drastically reduced. We are on the right path.

"The deployment of security arms has largely been symbolic, with you our citizens heeding the call, taking the lead and showing the way in the fight against this pandemic. Well done Zimbabwe and keep it up," said President Mnangagwa.

"However, this should not induce complacency among at but instead motivate us to do even more now and in the weeks and months ahead. A lot more will be expected from us. Let us all err on the side of abundant caution. In self-discipline is our safety and collective security as a nation."

The President said the Government continues to make substantial strides in enhancing national preparedness against the pandemic. He said the Cabinet Taskforce under Vice President Kembo Mohadi is in full throttle with more and better information flowing regularly to the citizens.

President Mnangagwa said the Government has put in place immediate fiscal and monetary measures and interventions to protect our economy while the 2020 National Budget will be revised and re-prioritised to ensure adequate fiscal buffers in the wake of the ravaging threat.

"Equally, we are aware that the lockdown comes at great cost to livelihoods of our highly informalised economy. We have, therefore, committed to provide social safety nets to ensure that vulnerable households are sustained during this challenging period," he said.

President Mnangagwa said isolation centres have been established in hospitals and additional health facilities identified and more tests are being conducted.

"Above all, we have now begun decentralising operations to encompass our entire territory, given the mass movements of our people back to our rural areas.

"Additionally, more and more Zimbabweans are self-repatriating home from different countries and parts of the world. Our bio-surveillance and contact tracking systems against both imported cases and likely in-country infections are being improved. We are operating in a 'whole-country-emergency-mode', with each and every one of us having a role to play," he said.

President Mnangagwa said there is also an urgent need to re-imagine rural infrastructure, rural housing and other social amenities within the broader context of national development while the cities and towns must also be revamped and re-envisioned. President Mnangagwa said the Government will continue to prioritise the health and safety of ensuring health workers by ensuring that they are appropriately kitted.

President Mnangagwa said China has increased the production of ventilators after severe cases of Covid-19 put a strain on the stock of ventilators and oxygen supply chains. He paid tribute to the business community for supporting initiatives meant to strengthen the national response to Covid-19.

"I, equally, applaud researchers, inventors and developers from our Universities and technical colleges who continue to work on various materials needed by our hospitals, clinics and the nation at large, in the fight against Covid-19. This pandemic has indeed triggered flashes of unprecedented national creativity and inventiveness. Our high literacy levels must now be turned to tangible practical research, developments and inventions. Institutions of Higher Learning will have the full support of my Government," said President Mnangagwa.

"Our health delivery system must scale to new heights, buttressed by supporting industries. This must be a taming point which will see our country emerge from this misfortune, secure and self-sufficient through import substitution with new industries in the medical sector and associated exports. To this end, Government is ready to support and facilitate the establishment of a medical, industrial/technological complex."
 
The President reiterated that food supply must be guaranteed.

"To that end, I direct our Security Arms to ensure pathway of food supply. All agriculture activity must remain undisturbed throughout the period of the lockdown. All our producers must continue to feed our nation with minimum hustles. Equally, all veterinary outlets and services must continue to run as we fend off diseases against our livestock. Our outlets and field teams working on projects meant to climate-proof our agriculture, and towards impending harvests, as well as winter wheat programmes, must be facilitated," he said.

"Going forward, Government and the business sector must work together to ensure we minimise the likelihood of shocks and lessen the magnitude of an economic downturn as a result of this pandemic. The wheels of industry must keep turning, albeit at a slower pace, for the sake of our survival.

"Government has therefore largely left it to our business sector to determine how best to respond to the Covid-19 menace, but within health and safety parameters set by our health experts. Adequate measures must be put in place to protect our workforce."

Source - chroncile

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