Security will be boosted during the forthcoming Easter holidays to ensure adherence to Covid-19 containment regulations, amid expectations of an increase in human traffic countrywide, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa, has said.
This comes as experts across the Christian world fear there could be an explosion of Covid-19 cases immediately after the Easter holidays, which are traditionally associated with a lot of movement and partying.
The Easter holiday starts with Good Friday on April 2 until Easter Monday on April 5. It will be followed by Zimbabwe’s 41st independence celebrations a few days later and with April 18 occurring on a Sunday, the following day becomes a public holiday in line with the country’s laws, implying that citizens have seven days of resting next month, allowing them ample time to mix and mingle with friends and relatives, a development that may cause a jump in Covid-19 infections if movements are not restricted.
Responding to questions in Senate on Thursday, Minister Mutsvangwa said Government was aware of the risks of a rise in infections during the holidays and has put in place mechanisms to avert a potential crisis.
“All the security agents would be out in full force to ensure there is compliance with regulations because we have noticed that compliance is becoming a problem following the easing of some of the restrictions,” she said.
The minister said church gatherings should not be more than 50 as required by the regulations, adding that borders had not yet been re-opened, and only returning residents would be allowed to enter the country.
Minister Mutsvangwa said Government had also put in place mechanisms to ensure people don’t not use fake Covid-19 test certificates to travel.
Already, there are many people that have appeared in courts for issuing fake Covid-19 free certificates to people who would not have been tested. Similarly, there are fresh reports of some malcontents that are issuing out fake Covid-19 vaccination certificates and sources in the police say the net is closing in on the manufacturers of the fake documents.
Meanwhile, Minister Mutsvangwa called on parliamentarians to encourage their constituents to get vaccinated in the ongoing exercise. She said President Mnangagwa and various Government leaders had been publicly vaccinated to show that there was nothing wrong with the vaccines.
“It is our responsibility as leaders to make sure that our people get vaccinated to fight this disease. This is being done free of charge so we should encourage people to get vaccinated,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa added that her ministry had also heightened awareness campaigns to encourage people to be vaccinated.
Zimbabwe is in the second stage of the first phase of the vaccination programme that begun last month. Many national leaders from politics to religion, have already been vaccinated and encouraged their followers to also get their jabs.
Zimbabwe has obtained a donation of 400 000 vaccines from China and bought 600 000 doses of the vaccine, of which 200 000 doses have been delivered while the balance will come in batches to avoid challenges associated with storage.