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Mnangagwa urges Zimbabweans to be more COVID-19 vigilant

by Staff reporter
29 Dec 2020 at 06:53hrs | Views
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has urged the country to be more vigilant and ensure its systems are ready to attend to citizens returning from South Africa without being screened for Covid-19.

The neighbouring country on Christmas Day suspended the screening of travellers for Covid-19 using the Beitbridge Border Post to ease congestion at the port of entry. Congestion at the border led to five deaths within two days while a humanitarian crisis was also developing.

In suspending the screening service, South Africa's health department said its decision was informed by the fact that the same screening services were being conducted at the Zimbabwean side.

Speaking after receiving three electric controlled hospital beds donated by Friends of Ekusileni Medical Centre Covid-19 Hospitals UK yesterday, Bulawayo Provincial Affairs and Devolution Minister Judith Ncube said after learning about the suspension of screening services by SA at the Beitbridge Border Post, she raised her concerns with President Mnangagwa who was in Bulawayo on Saturday and Sunday.

She said the President said while the Government has no control over what the SA government does, returning citizens should be welcomed as they are Zimbabweans. Minister Ncube said President Mnangagwa however it was important for the country to strengthen its systems to ensure that South Africa's decision does not cause a spike in local cases.

"Just a day before yesterday (Saturday) I was expressing concerns to the President, I said since our neighbours were no longer screening those coming to the country what is going to happen? I told him that I think we need to put in place certain measures and he said 'Minister there is nothing we can do at the moment other than telling ourselves that those people are part of us,'" said Minister Ncube.

"'They are our children, they are our partners, our mothers, our fathers, brothers and sisters who are coming home, they are Zimbabweans. We can't tell our neighbours what to do. So, when our citizens are returning home, they need our support. Let's stand ready, our systems need to be improved so that when they come home, they find us ready to accommodate them the best way we can.' His response was so true and is what we should do. I looked at him and inertly said this is how difficult being a leader is."

She said ordinary citizens have a role to play in preventing the spread of Covid-19 considering the threat posed by its new variant. Minister Ncube said she was disappointed when she went around the city just towards Christmas and observed that some members of the public people were not observing Covid-19 prevention measures.

"I went across the city towards Christmas Day, it was bad, extremely bad, our children are not wearing masks, let's follow the regulations," said Minister Ncube.

"The public relations that you have makes us proud, the transparency approach gives you dignity and credibility, maintain that. There are some people, I'm told elsewhere who would go around sourcing donations on behalf of us back home but we haven't received anything. But with the I Am 4 Bulawayo Trust, I'm so happy we have made significant strides because of their work," she said.

Minister Ncube said Bulawayo and Zimbabwe could reach greater heights with organisations such as I Am 4 Bulawayo Fighting Covid-19 Trust as their aim is to rebuild the nation. She said through commitment shown by the organisation among other institutions, opening of Ekusileni Medical Centre is fast becoming a reality.

"We want to make sure that by the time we open this hospital everything is in place. This will ensure that those who are admitted at this institution are assisted to quickly recover. We do not want patients to be hopeless due to lack of equipment or medical consumables," she said.

Representing I Am for Bulawayo Fighting Covid-19 Trust, Dr Wedu Ndebele said, opening of Ekusileni Medical Centre is only possible if all stakeholders work together. He commended Friends of Ekusileni Covid-19 Hospitals UK for their timely donation.

"We will only be able to open Ekusileni if we continue getting such assistance. I know people are disappointed that deadlines and opening dates have been given in the past but have been missed. Together we can ensure this institution is opened to serve our community. There is a surge in the number of Covid-19 cases and we need hospitals like this one to admit patients. This donation is therefore very timely and our hope is that these beds will soon be put to good use by Bulawayo residents as well as others from this region," he said.

Friends of Ekusileni Covid-19 Hospitals UK representative and managing director of Harare based One Time Pharmaceuticals Mr Mihlakayifani Ndabambi said the donation was a response to I Am for Bulawayo Fighting

Covid-19 Trust's appeal in April. Friends of Ekusileni Covid-19 Hospitals UK team made up of former students and staff of hospitals such as Mpilo Central Hospital, United Bulawayo Hospitals (UBH), Ingutsheni Central Hospital and ex-Bulawayo City Council employees, raised £2 000 towards yesterday's donation.

Source - chronicle

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