Citizens must continue adhering to Covid-19 control measures as some processes have proven to be useful containment measures for monkeypox, Cabinet said yesterday.
There has been an increase in Covid-19 cases in other countries but the situation in Zimbabwe remains under control following a thorough and comprehensive response to the pandemic.
As for monkeypox, there are no cases in Zimbabwe as yet, but confirmed cases in neighbouring countries call for the need to invoke the response used to suppress Covid-19.
Speaking after yesterday’s Cabinet meeting, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa, said: “The nation is informed that Cabinet also received a report on the global monkeypox outbreak that has so far been detected in 42 countries.
“Cabinet wishes to inform the public that there are no cases of monkeypox reported in Zimbabwe. The country has, however, put surveillance, laboratory testing and case management measures in place in preparation for any potential outbreak.
“The public is urged to put emphasis on implementation of public health and social measures that are currently being used for Covid-19 such as regular washing of hands and social distancing, since these measures have been proven to also work for monkeypox.”
Minister Mutsvangwa advised the public that in view of the World Health Organisation (WHO)’s weekly report indicating that there was a large increase in new cases globally during the week under review, Zimbabwe should remain vigilant, test more, vaccinate more and prioritise those with underlying chronic medical conditions.
“Cabinet therefore, calls upon all citizens that have not been vaccinated to present themselves for vaccination at centres nearest to them,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa said regarding the national vaccination programme, as of June 27, 6 280 106 first doses of the Covid-19 vaccine had been administered, while 4 623 957 people had received their second dose, and 869 862 third dose.
This translates to a national coverage of 55,9 percent, compared to the 55,8 percent recorded in the previous week.
Minister Mutsvangwa warned the public that the Covid-19 pandemic was not yet over.
In view of the global outbreak of Monkeypox, Cabinet has approved measures like the need to remain vigilant and strengthen Covid-19 testing at all levels.
She said provinces should come up with innovative strategies to increase vaccination coverage and focus on the elderly and those with underlying chronic health conditions as well as implementation of all Covid-19 public health and continuing social measures.
Said Minister Mutsvangwa: “Our country must take advantage of lessons learnt from the Covid-19 response and mount a strong Monkeypox preparedness and response strategy; and the Risk Communication Sub-Committee must immediately embark on a Monkeypox information dissemination exercise.”