Top business players pen letter to Govt as COVID-19 cases soar

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  • Implores govt to accelerate vaccination efforts
  • Wants a piece of the pie in the vaccination programme
  • Asks govt to review operating and curfew hours

HARARE – With the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases steadily rising even after the imposition of 30 days of lockdown, members of the business community have requested Government to accelerate rapid identification of and approval for an appropriate COVID-19 vaccine.

Zimbabwe has seen a surge in cases since the end of the festive season while recording increased death toll in the process. Even the COVID – 19 Rapid Response Teams and the entire health sector has started to creak as top cities like Harare and Bulawayo witness an acute shortage of resources.

The country now has over 28 000 COVID-19 cases, with Harare and Manicaland being the hotpots.

In a letter addressed to the Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care, General Rt Dr Constantion Chiwenga on 18 January 2020, First Vice President Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe (representing Business Member Organisations namely, Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce and Commercial Farmers Union), Demos Mbauya said “We are concerned with the fast deteriorating situation and hope that as with many other nations our plans for rolling out vaccination are advanced”.

He added that “We also look forward to the private sector taking part in the vaccination programme”.

Mr Mbauya also called upon Government to allow the emergence authorisation of the Anti-Parasite Drug Ivermectin (Human Form) for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19.

In their statement of argument, they said that there is increasing evidence that the anti-parasite drug ivermectin has the potential to improve outcomes for patients affected by COVID-19, including the vulnerable groups.

“It also protects / prevents infection of both high-risk individuals such as health care workers and those exposed to contacts of persons infected with COVID-19,” Mr Mbauya said.

Countries which have used protocols including ivermectin include Peru and India. According to reports, Peru reported to have flattened its second wave curve in three weeks against typical eight weeks.

Meanwhile, Mr Mbauya cited that companies are having difficulties in testing their employees for COVID-19 infection due to high costs associated with testing done by some private laboratories ranging from USD50 to USD65 per employee.

“We humbly request the authorities to assist the private sector to procure PCR and rapid antigen testing kits at affordable low cost.”

He also requested government to review the business operating hours to open at 7am and close at 4pm for manufacturing and 8am to 5pm for supermarkets and other retail outlets. He said this is to reduce overcrowding and thus, curfew hours should run from 7pm to 5am to allow movement of those essential services.

Equity Axis News

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