Zvamaida Muwira Senior Reporter
Food markets will now be closed for disinfection one day a week, with hygiene in markets upgraded and proper demarcation of vegetable bays done.
At the same time, all private and Government hospitals are required to establish zones for patients under investigation following the directive reversing their refusal to admit patients without evidence that they were free of Covid-19.
Zimbabwe had recorded 4 221 confirmed cases, with 1 238 recoveries and 81 deaths as of Tuesday this week.
The new measures to contain the risk of Covid-19 infection were announced yesterday by Women’s Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Minister Sithembiso Nyoni during a post-Cabinet briefing.
“As a precautionary measure to curb the transmission of Covid-19 at food markets, which are characterised by crowding, poor sanitisation and lack of reticulated water, Cabinet resolved that the restructuring of the vegetable market bays in line with Covid-19 protocols be done in all vegetable markets, that markets operate a six-day-cycle with mandatory closure for disinfection on the seventh day, that all vendors at stalls should exercise extreme precaution like the use of sanitisers and consistent hand-washing with soap and running water, and that a targeted information education campaign be conducted to promote a new-normal among traders and customers at these markets,” said Minister Nyoni.
She said the Government would also come up with measures to be enforced in other places where people converge in large numbers.
“Cabinet has directed that all hospitals should admit patients without the pre-requirement for a prior Covid-19 test result and proceed to do a PCR test on admission. To that end, the Ministry of Health and Child Care has already directed all public and private health institutions to establish patient-under-investigation zones to ensure that no patients are turned away,” she said.
She said Wilkins and United Bulawayo Hospitals will be admitting mild to moderately ill Covid-19 patients.
“Following recent developments in South Africa, where the time of storage of bodies has been reduced, Cabinet resolved to grant the
Zimbabwe Mission in South Africa a special waiver during the Covid-19 pandemic period to clear the repatriation of undocumented Zimbabwean bodies for burial back home on the basis of submitted affidavits from the chief or village head and relatives in Zimbabwe,” she said.
Responding to another question, Minister Nyoni said Cabinet ministers were regularly tested for Covid-19 and the last round was conducted last week and results came out yesterday.
Commenting on the appointment of Vice President Constantino Chiwenga as Health and Child Care Minister, Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube said the development would give impetus to the fight against Covid-19 pandemic given that there was now also a substantive Permanent Secretary.
He said there was nothing unusual about VP Chiwenga attending a meeting chaired by Vice President Kembo Mohadi who chairs the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on Covid-19.
“There are so many inter-ministerial committees that are chaired by another Cabinet minister. On the VP, there will be no any complications about that. It is about delivery,” said Prof Ncube while fielding questions from journalists.