Zimbabwe sets deadline for frontline workers to get vaccinated

COVID-19 vaccine
COVID-19 vaccine

The Zimbabwean government has set July 14 as the deadline for frontline health workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“After this date, those who would not have been vaccinated will not receive COVID-19 insurance payouts,” said Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa on Tuesday.

At a post-cabinet press briefing, the minister said that the vaccination rate among health care workers remains low despite being prioritized for vaccination ahead of other citizens.

She said that 20 percent of frontline workers have yet to present themselves for vaccination, which will pose risks to both other workers and patients.

Vaccinated staff members who test positive are still eligible for the insurance payouts, she said. Zimbabwe has witnessed a resurgence in COVID-19 cases and deaths over the past weeks, prompting the government to re-impose tighter lockdown measures.

Reducing operating hours for businesses, decreasing industry workforce to 40 percent and inter-city travel ban are among the measures announced by President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Tuesday.

A curfew from 6.30 p.m. (2230 GMT) to 6 a.m. (1000 GMT) has also been introduced, as well as mandatory quarantining of travelers from countries with Alpha and Delta COVID-19 variants.As of Tuesday, Zimbabwe had recorded 48,533 COVID-19 cases with 38,323 recoveries and 1,761 deaths.

A total of 770,709 people have so far received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose and 544,888 their second. Mnangagwa said the government will roll out a vaccination blitz in high-risk areas as it steps up efforts to contain a possible third wave of the pandemic.

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