New Covid-19 variant dents Zim tourism prospects

December 2, 2021

TINASHE MAKICHI

 

Cabinet has resolved to put on hold requests from the tourism industry to further open up travel in order to allow for the monitoring of the situation of the new Covid-19 variant, Omicron, and its impact during the next fortnight.

This comes after a new Covid-19 variant was detected in South Africa and a number of countries sparking a curb on travel.

Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services minister Monica Mutsvangwa told a post-Cabinet briefing this week said that vigilance of returning residents will be enhanced as well as at illegal or undesignated entry points as the country goes into the festive season, and in order to reduce the risk of importing the new variant.

“Continued strengthening of the roll out of the Covid-19 vaccination programme in the provinces will also be undertaken and Cabinet also resolved to put on hold requests from the tourism industry to further open up travel in order to allow for the monitoring of the situation of the new variant and its impact during the next two weeks,” Mutsvangwa said.

As at November 29, 2021, the country’s cumulative Covid-19 cases stood at 134 226 with 128 703 recoveries and 4 706 deaths. The recovery rate was 96%, with 600 active cases having been recorded.

According to Mutsvangwa, the number of people in need of hospitalization for Covid-19 continues to decrease, with the country’s bed occupancy rate declining to 0.7% during the week under review from 0.9% the previous week.

“This indicates that the national response measures being instituted by the Government continue to pay off. Government, nonetheless, continues to call upon citizens to strictly observe the national and World Health Organisation (WHO) Covid-19 protocols as well as to get vaccinated to prevent a fourth wave of the Covid-19 outbreak,” Mutsvangwa said.

Regarding the national vaccination programme, as at November 29, 2021, a total of 3 781 186 first doses of the Covid-19 vaccine had been administered, while 2 804 465 people had received their second dose.

Focus remains on achieving the end of year national and global target of total population coverage of 60% and 40%, respectively.

Mutsvangwa said  a donation of 60 000 doses was received from Mauritius on November 26, adding that Zimbabwe has enough vaccines to meet the expected increased demand of accelerated roll-out of the vaccination programme.

She said Zimbabwe has taken a cue from the World Health Organisation by designation Omicron as a variant of concern.

 

 

 

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