*HON. SEN. DR. MAVETERA: Thank you Mr. President Sir. My question goes to the Leader of Government Business. I think in December, we had a spate of movement of people during the festive season, which actually was one of the reasons why we had an upsurge of COVID in the country. What is the Government policy with regards to the oncoming Easter Holidays in order to curtail the movement of the population and ensure that citizens abide by the COVID regulations to avoid a repeat of what befell the nation over the Christmas Holidays? Thank you Mr. President.
THE MINISTER OF INFORMATION, PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES (HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA): Thank you Mr. President. I would want to thank Hon. Sen. Dr. Mavetera for that question which concerns the health of the nation. I think this is very close to the heart of Government and what has been done in terms of protocols put together for the prevention and precautionary measures to avoid virus. It shows that as Government, we would not leave any stone unturned, in terms of making sure that our people adhere to those measures.
THE HON. DEPUTY PRESIDENT OF SENATE: Hon. Minister, you are not connected.
HON. SEN. MUTSVANGWA: Thank you Mr. President. The Hon. Member mentioned that there was an upsurge in December – January and we know as a nation that we had a tragedy in January and certainly, the Government is doing all it can to make sure that we avoid a recurrence of December upsurge, if ever there is another third wave. A lot of efforts have been put in terms of making sure that people adhere to the precautionary and preventative measures which have been put in place by Government and also by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Our security agencies are on it to make sure that there will not be any gatherings bigger than the 50 which is allowed according to the review which was done by the President. If it is a church gathering, they should not be more than 50. There will be security agencies to make sure that people actually comply. The issue of compliance has been a serious problem.
As the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, we have also upped our game. We have got outdoor vans moving around in all the high density areas and provinces to make sure that our people comply to the protocols of COVID-19. The borders, as you are aware are still not open to everybody, except for Zimbabwe returnees because we cannot really say to a Zimbabwean that you cannot come back to your country. Certainly, all the security agents will be out on full force to make sure that people are adhering to the precautionary and preventative measures which have been put in place by Government and World Health Organisation. The police and our security agencies are on it to make sure that therey will not be any gatherings bigger than the 50 which is allowed, according to the relaxation which was the review which was done by the President.
There are no gatherings, and if it is church gatherings, they should not be more than 50 and there will be security agencies to make sure that people comply. The issue of compliance has been a serious problem and as you can see as Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services. We have also upped our game; we have got even outdoor vehicles moving around in all the high density areas even in the provinces to make sure that our people comply to the protocol of COVID-19.
The borders as you are aware, they are still not open to everyone, except you know that even during the lockdown the borders were always open for Zimbabwe returnees because you cannot really say no that a Zimbabwean cannot come back to their country. Certainly there will be all the security agencies in full force to make sure that people are adhering to the protocol, especially social distancing. In churches we are allowing gatherings of up to 50; it calls for social distances, washing hands and sanitisation even at funerals. So we are saying to the people of Zimbabwe let us continue to adhere to these COVID-19 protocols, this will save our lives and our loved ones lives and we will be able to contain this pandemic especially with the roll out of vaccines that could actually give this country a plus in terms of containing COVID-19. So a lot of work through the inter-ministerial task force on COVID-19 is being done and to make sure that our security forces the police and everyone else will be actually out there to make sure that people comply. I thank you.
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