Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
Cabinet yesterday put on hold all other business to discuss ways and measures of tackling the coronavirus in a rare show of high level seriousness by Government in dealing with the global pandemic that recorded its first death in Zimbabwe on Monday.
Further, an 11-member inter-ministerial ad hoc taskforce appointed by President Mnangagwa to deal with the outbreak of coronavirus was activated yesterday in line with a Cabinet decision made on March 17, 2020.
The ministers involved in the taskforce are Dr Obadiah Moyo who is the chairman (Health and Child Care), July Moyo who is the deputy chair (Local Government and Public Works), Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri (Defence and War Veterans Affairs), Kazembe Kazembe (Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage), Dr Sibusiso Moyo (Foreign Affairs and International Trade), Joel Biggie Matiza (Transport and Infrastructural Development), Mangaliso Ndlovu (Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry), Professor Mthuli Ncube (Finance and Economic Development), Professor Amon Murwira (Higher and Tertiary Education, Innovation and Science Technology Development and Monica Mutsvangwa (Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services).
Minister Mutsvangwa revealed this during a post Cabinet briefing at Munhumutapa Government offices yesterday.
Among other things, the taskforce would be responsible for is monitoring the situation and managing the response to the Covid-19 outbreak and identifying gaps for corrective action.
“The following terms of reference will guide the taskforce’s operations, to raise the general awareness of the public on the pandemic, to mobilise domestic and international financial resources to adequately respond to the outbreak and to engage private sector associations that include captains of industry and businesses, religious leaders, local authorities, traditional leaders and they will be coming for support in the implementation of the identified initiatives,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
She said the taskforce would also be responsible for briefing the President, Cabinet and the nation on the country’s preparedness and response to coronavirus.
Said Minister Mutsvangwa: “As the chairman of the task force Honourable Obadiah Moyo is required to make use of the Civil Protection Unit, which has the requisite geographical spread and representation for maximum, effective, collective response and action as displayed in the management of the Cyclone Idai disaster.”
She said the taskforce would also be responsible for rallying all stakeholders towards the successful fight of the pandemic that include the Zimbabwe Medical Association, its affiliates and all stakeholders in the medical field.
Minister Mutsvangwa said Dr Moyo updated Cabinet on the national preparedness response progress on the Covid-19 outbreak in Zimbabwe and noted the death of Zororo Makamba at Wilkins due to the novel virus and extended condolences to the Makamba family.
She said Cabinet noted with appreciation the support, which was rendered by various partners in particular the Alibaba Foundation that had made a donation of a consignment of commodities to help strengthen and intensify surveillance, laboratory testing and case management of Covid-19.
The first consignment arrived at the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport yesterday consisting of 20 000 laboratory diagnostic kits, 10 000 medical face masks and 1 000 protective suites and face shields.
Minister Mutsvangwa said the late Zororo Makamba was buried yesterday under the supervision of health authorities and also dispelled social media rumours that Prof Mthuli was in self-isolation.
She said Zimbabwe’s preparations for the Covid-19 were not like the country was aware that the virus was coming but Government was doing everything to save life.
Minister Mutsvangwa noted that it was encouraging that news from China showed that there were no new infections, saying it would also be easier for Zimbabwe since most of the equipment to fight the virus comes from the Asian country.
She said the positive coronavirus case in Victoria Falls, which was the first one, was being monitored and his condition was now stable.