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The Cabinet received an update on the country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and a report on the supply and deployment of vaccines, as presented by the Vice President and Minister of Health and Protection of childhood, the Honorable Dr. CGDN Chiwenga.

The nation is informed that as of June 13, 2022, the cumulative cases of Covid-19 in the country stood at 254,155, with 246,566 recoveries and 5,521 deaths. The cure rate was 97%, with 2,078 active cases reported. The number of new Covid-19 cases fell by 39% to 758 cases, compared to 1,241 recorded the previous week.

Analysis of the resurgence by province shows that the metropolitan province of Bulawayo, which was the only province with an increase of more than 10% in new cases last week, has now also recorded an increase of less than 10%.

The Ministry of Health and Childcare is ready to introduce Covid-19 self-testing kits, mainly at entry points and in remote areas, to scale up testing in all communities.

Regarding the national vaccination programme, the Council would like to point out that as of 12 June 2022, a total of 6,249,549 first doses of the Covid-19 vaccine had been administered, while 4,581,185 people had received their second dose, and 841 330 their third dose. This translates to a national coverage of 55.6%, compared to 55.5% recorded the previous week.

Accordingly, all provinces will continue to strengthen the implementation of public health and social measures within the framework of the new normal and containment of Covid-19.

The Cabinet also discussed the food deficit measures and ordered the establishment of a committee to expedite the food deficit mitigation programme.

GWAYI-SHANGANI DAM PROGRESS REPORT

The Cabinet received a progress report on the Gwayi-Shangani Dam and the development of irrigation and hydropower generation associated with Gwayi-Shangani, presented by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, of Water and Rural Development, Hon. Dr. Anxious Jongwe Masuka.

The Cabinet wishes to inform the nation that the construction of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam is now 66.2% complete. The contractor is currently working on the dam wall. The process of classifying the Gwayi-Shangani Dam as a lake is ongoing. Excavations for the permanent access road began on March 14, 2022. The road will provide access to the mini hydroelectric plant.

The nation is also informed that the civil works contracts for the pipeline were signed on April 7, 2022 and the sites were handed over to 11 contractors. All contractors are now on site, and 68 km of the 252 km pipeline route have been cleared, while 6 km have been excavated. The 220 mega liter per day Cowdray Park treatment plant is at the tender stage, with bids closing on June 10, 2022. Approximately 800ML of the treated water will be pumped directly to the reservoir. of 108 ML Magwegwe clear water for further distribution to Bulawayo city.

For hydropower generation, the plant’s final design capacity is 10 MW. The Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) and the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) will finalize the designs for the mini hydropower plant and associated power evacuation infrastructure by the end of this month. The electricity produced will be injected into the national grid and will contribute to self-sufficiency in electricity production as well as rural industrialization for the benefit of local communities.

With regard to irrigation development, the government has hired chiefs in Lupane, Binga and Hwange. The communities understood the orientation of the projects and generated a lot of interest among them. Communal and commercial irrigation blocks have been identified. The process of identifying irrigation pumping points is now complete. The 200 hectares per district under the Vision 2030 accelerator model is given urgent priority, and irrigation of peri-urban areas of Bulawayo has been discussed. The Ministry of National Housing and Social Amenities is working on design models for rural farmhouses and the proposed design drawings, with costs, will be produced by July 1, 2022. The farmhouses will have modern sanitary facilities. Assessments for compensation of households around the dam that need to be relocated have been completed. The aim is to build formal and higher quality houses with modern designs reflecting rural development as set out in Vision 2030.

The Cabinet ordered the following:

That Gwayi Valley Primary School receive more land and funds to build more classrooms and teachers’ houses;

That there is greater involvement of the community and its leaders in the planning of their community development; and

The focus on the feasibility of supplying schools along the pipeline with drinking water and for agricultural activities begins.

The Firm further led an acceleration of the project in line with Vision 2030.

ACCESSION BY ZIMBABWE TO CONVENTIONS, PROTOCOLS AND AGREEMENTS ON NUCLEAR ENERGY

The Cabinet considered and adopted Zimbabwe’s accession to the following Nuclear Energy Protocol, Conventions and Agreement, which were presented by the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Honorable Ziyambi Ziyambi as Chairman of the Cabinet Committee on Legislation:

Joint Protocol Relating to the Application of the Vienna Convention and the Paris Convention;

International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism;

Agreement on Privileges and Immunities of the International Atomic Energy Agency; and

Vienna Convention on Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage.

The benefits of joining the Conventions, Protocol and Agreement are:

That Zimbabwe will benefit from maximum international financial security against damage resulting from the peaceful use of nuclear energy, since ratification will allow Zimbabwean courts to have jurisdiction in cases arising from nuclear accidents, their judgments being binding at an international level ;

That the country will have an effective basis for the regulatory and legislative framework for nuclear incidents;

Improved Zimbabwe’s compliance with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) legal instruments and international law generally;

Cooperation with other States in developing effective technical and legal frameworks to combat nuclear terrorism; and

Promotion of international peace and security through the prevention of nuclear terrorism.

REPORT ON THE VISIT TO EGYPT OF THE HONORABLE VICE PRESIDENT AND MINISTER OF HEALTH AND CHILD WELFARE.

The Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Hon. Dr. CGDN Chiwenga briefed the Cabinet on his visit to Egypt from 4th to 8th June 2022, during which he attended the events following:

The Fourth Ordinary Session of the African Union Specialized Technical Committee on Health, Population and Drug Control; and

The first African medical conference and exhibition (Africa Health Excon).

The Vice President and Minister of Health and Care also met with the Egyptian Prime Minister and the Egyptian Minister of Health and Population, as well as representatives of INTRAPHARMA, Egypt’s central pharmaceutical company, on the creation of a 50-50 pharmaceutical joint venture under the name of an import substitution program in line with the local content strategy.

Council wishes to inform the nation that the Fourth Ordinary Session of the African Union Specialized Technical Committee on Health, Population and Drug Control was held under the theme “Promoting Health Security and Socio -economics of the African population: Valuing nutrition as an intervention”.

The conference deliberated on ensuring equitable access to health technologies, pharmaceuticals and health services. Highlights included concerns over the increasing number of incidents of drug abuse in Africa, which is having a negative impact on the continent’s economic growth.

The first African Medical Conference and Exhibition (Africa Health Excon) was held under the theme “Your Gateway to Innovation and Commerce”. During the Excon roundtable, the Vice President and Minister of Health and Childcare was able to highlight, among other things, the need to develop human capacities; self-sufficiency in manufacturing pharmaceuticals and equipment; improvement of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene; addressing substance abuse issues among youth; and emergency medicine response and planning.

In the meantime, the engagements with the Egyptian Prime Minister, the Minister of Health and Population and INTRAPHARMA should lead to the signing of the relevant MoUs soon.

A tour of Egypt’s New Administrative Town, undertaken by the Vice President, provided valuable information which will be incorporated into the development of Zimbabwe’s New Town at Mt Hampden.

The Joint Permanent Commission between Zimbabwe and Egypt will be convened again to give impetus to areas of cooperation in health and pharmaceuticals, construction, agriculture, etc.

REPORT OF THE FIRST ORDINARY SESSION OF THE CONFERENCE OF STATES PARTIES OF THE AFRICAN MEDICINES AGENCY (AMA)

The Cabinet received a report on the First Ordinary Session of States Parties of the African Medicines Agency (AMA) as presented by the Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Honorable Dr. CGDN Chiwenga.

The nation is informed that the First Ordinary Session of the WADA Conference of States Parties was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from June 1-3, 2022. The meeting discussed the following: Rules of Procedure of the Conference of States Parties (CoSP); election of the AMA Treaty CoSP Bureau; and WADA Headquarters Hosting Assessment Report. Zimbabwe offers to be considered to host the Regional Center of Excellence for the Southern Africa region.