Economy re-opening to benefit only fully vaccinated customers
AS COVID-19 cases continue decreasing in Zimbabwe, more services and activities are resuming, but only to fully vaccinated customers.
This has raised questions as to whether the government has unofficially introduced mandatory vaccination.
Cabinet on Tuesday allowed the resumption of cinemas, theatres, art galleries, gyms, health spas and fitness centres to vaccinated clients, with all the staff also expected to be vaccinated.
Last week, restaurants were given the green light to open for sit-down services to vaccinated clients, while congregants are also expected to be innoculated before attending church services.
This comes as workers have taken the government to court over banning non-vaccinated workers from reporting to work.
Cabinet said the several measures adopted by government had resulted in a decrease in infection, with a 30% decrease in the number of infections during the week under review.
“This reflects that the infection control measures being implemented by government are yielding results. There has also been a corresponding decrease in the number of people in need of hospitalisation for Covid-19. The bed occupancy rate was 14.5% during the review week, compared to the 17.8% reported previously,” this week’s cabinet briefing reads.
Zimbabwe had recorded a total of 124 773 cases and 4 419 deaths as at 31 August.
The country is targeting to vaccinate 60% of the population by December and has extended the vaccination programme to teenagers.
“Cabinet is informing the nation that as of 29 August 2021, a total of two million five hundred and fifty-two thousand five hundred and seventy-three (2 552 573) persons had received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, while one million six hundred and nineteen thousand four hundred and sixty-three (1 619 463) had received the second dose. This translates to a national coverage of 29.7% and 18.9% for the first and second doses, respectively,” the briefing reads.
Cabinet also resolved to scrap the requirement for travellers from areas with the Delta variant to be quarantined. “Following representations from the various sectors of the economy, cabinet resolved and wishes to inform the nation as follows: a) considering that 98% of Covid-19 cases in Zimbabwe are of the Delta variant, there is no longer need to quarantine travellers from countries afflicted with the variant, such as India,” the briefing reads.
The government has also launched Operation Marah to accelerate the vaccination programme for church members towards the attainment of herd immunity.
“The churches can now call on government vaccination teams to vaccinate members against Covid-19. Government wishes to categorically state that the vaccination programme is a free service to the nation, and as such, all private health institutions should not charge those wishing to access the services,” the cabinet briefing reads.