Health & Food

Minister Mutsvangwa Gives Monkeypox Update

Zimbabwe remains on high alert to deal with Covid-19 and any potential outbreak of monkeypox.

Over 50 countries globally have recorded cases of Monkeypox but Zimbabwe has not recorded any cases as yet. Monkeypox, a viral disease that has been for decades been recorded in the central and west African rainforests has this year seen a few thousand cases in Europe and North America with scattered cases in other parts of the world.

Monkeypox symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash.

Speaking to the media after Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee of the World Health Organisation had advised that the outbreak does not constitute a public health emergency of international concern at this stage.

“Given that the measures which control Covid-19 have also been found to be effective in curtailing the spread of monkeypox, Zimbabwe should remain vigilant for both Covid-19 and monkeypox by maintaining Covid-19 surveillance and testing, maintaining monkeypox surveillance and information dissemination and observing and adhering to Covid-19 public health and social measures, such as hand washing and sanitisation, wearing of face masks and social distancing,” she said.

Minister Mutsvangwa also said the overall number of new Covid-19 cases continued to decrease, with a 38 percent decline reported during the week at 383 cases compared to 552 recorded the previous week.

An average of 55 new cases was recorded per day, compared to 79 new cases in the previous week.

“This trend of declining cases confirms that the pandemic remains under control. The public must, however, continue to adhere to public health and social Covid-19 prevention measures, which have largely contributed to the pandemic being under control.”

Minister Mutsvangwa noted that the relaxation of Covid-19 regulations pertaining to operating hours for bars and restaurants, applied to casinos.

Cabinet recently extended business hours for the hospitality industry to run from 8am to 3am the following day if the licence allowed that range of opening times and lifted the curfew that had been imposed at the start of pandemic and relaxed and tightened several times as the waves of infection came and went.

Nearly 1 500 people were arrested countrywide on Sunday for violating Covid-19 regulations, bringing the total arrests so far to over 1,8 million.

Police advised people to continue to abide by the law as the regulations were still in force and had only been relaxed, not repealed, clearing the way for law breakers to be arresters.

National police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, said: “On July 3, 2022, police arrested 1 450 people throughout the country for violating Covid-19-related offences.

The cumulative number of arrests since March 30, 2020, stands at 1 801 885. Another 215 people were also arrested countrywide under operation ‘No to Cross Border Crimes’, bringing the cumulative number of arrests to 163 424.”

In June, Zimbabwe scrapped the midnight to dawn curfew and extended operating hours of businesses in the hospitality sector as the country has made significant progress in the containment of Covid-19.

When the country was hit by Covid-19 in 2020, regulations were gazetted to curb the spread of the virus and these were considered critical in minimising infection and death. President Mnangagwa led the intervention that has won a lot of praise for its success.

At some point, the country observed dawn to dusk curfews, while travel to work was limited to only essential workers.

However, the roll-out of a phased Covid-19 vaccination programme and strict adherence to World Health Organisations protocols such as wearing of face masks, washing hands and observing social distancing, have seen the country beating back Covid-19. – Herald

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