‘Spike in Covid-19 cases worrisome’ President Mnangagwa makes a call to the Covid-19 Call and Data Centre while Health and Child Care Minister Dr Obadiah Moyo (left), Information Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa, and Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary Nick Mangwana (right) look on, at the launch of the call centre in Harare yesterday. — Picture: Tawanda Mudimu

Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter

President Mnangagwa yesterday expressed concern over increases, almost daily, of Covid-19 confirmed cases, a development he says makes it crucial for the corporate world to continue assisting Government in all ways possible to fight the pandemic.

The President said this while launching the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services’ Call and Data Centre that was sponsored by Innscor Africa and Liquid Telecom.

The call centre, which is located in Newlands, Harare, is a helpline that can be accessed by all Zimbabweans to get information relating to Covid-19 and any other factual Government information.

“It (Covid-19) has just begun to attack Zimbabwe and the spike is beginning to show an upward trend in our country. Yes, we have introduced a lockdown some two weeks ago but we are realising now that the pandemic is now more serious than at the time we introduced the lockdown,” he said.

President Mnangagwa applauded Innscor Africa and Liquid Telecom for heeding Government call to come forward and support the fight against Covid-19.

Said the President: “You are not only serving Government but your brothers and sisters, mother, your father, your uncle and niece is being assisted. I wish that many other entities countrywide in the private sector, in the public sector are able to do anything small or big to contribute towards the fight against this pandemic. I am happy that many people across this country are coming forward with resources to assist us and support our frontline soldiers — the doctors and the nurses.”

As a result of the call and data centre, President Mnangagwa said all Zimbabweans could now call on the helpline 2023 and seek assistance.

He said on that helpline, people could access information that all countries are receiving as guided by the World Health Organisation.

“As I launch this, it is at an early stage but I believe as we move on, the more we speak about it on television, on radio and in print newspapers, I believe that more and more of our people will get to know about this facility and possibly in future there may be need for you to expand the facility here,” said the President.

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the helpline would provide a free and easy platform for citizens to get factual answers to questions they might have, not just related to Covid-19, but any other issue that impacts their lives especially under this lockdown.

“They will be timeously informed of the interventions that are being made by Government. Information is now a free phone call away. Any Zimbabwean from the four corners of our 10 provinces can access it. It will also provide a quick, fast check platform. This is actually a good platform where citizens can easily check whether information they have heard is factual or fake. This centre will decongest the clinical Ministry of Health and Child Care health care centre help line by providing an alternative platform for non-clinical inquiries.”

Meanwhile, Innscor Africa Limited and Liquid Telecom later handed over 30 tonnes of roller meal to President Mnangagwa at State House to be distributed to frontline health workers after the launch of the call and data centre. The handover ceremony was witnessed by Vice Presidents Constantino Chiwenga and Kembo Mohadi, Defence and War Veterans Affairs Minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri and Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa.

Innscor Africa chief executive officer Mr Julian Schonken handed over the maize meal to President Mnangagwa.

“This is one of the gestures we have made to assist our frontline staff because we know they are working very hard every day,” Mr Schonken said.

Receiving the maize meal donation, President Mnangagwa said: “On behalf of Government and my own behalf I would like to thank Innscor Africa and Liquid Telecom who have contributed a lot in our endeavour to fight the Covid-19 pandemic. They have given us 30 tonnes of roller meal to give to our frontline workers and it means 3 000 of them will get a packet each.”

The maize meal will be distributed through the inter-ministerial taskforce chaired by Vice President Kembo Mohadi.

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