By BLESSINGS MASHAYA in Harare

THE Zimbabwean government yesterday extended the Level 2 lockdown by two more weeks to allow more citizens to be vaccinated against Covid-19 as it moves to avert a potential fourth wave outbreak. 

Speaking during a post-Cabinet media briefing in the capital yesterday, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said Zimbabweans must remain vigilant as the deadly virus is still lurking. 

“Cabinet would also like to announce the extension of the Level 2 lockdown by an additional two weeks to enable all to heighten vaccination uptake in order to protect the nation against a possible fourth wave of the pandemic. 

“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,” she said. 

This comes as Zimbabwe has recorded 133 471 confirmed cases of the pandemic and 4 697 deaths since March 2020. 

It also comes as health authorities have inoculated 3 483 353 people against Covid-19 as they race against a target of 10 million by year end to achieve herd immunity.  

Despite only six weeks left before the end of 2021, Mutsvangwa said the government is still confident herd immunity will be achieved. 

“Focus continues to be on achieving the end of year national and global target of total population coverage of 60 percent and 40 percent, respectively. 

“To this end, members of the public are urged to present themselves for vaccination as provincial vaccination teams have ramped up implementation of their respective district vaccination micro-plans, including mobilisation campaigns,” Mutsvangwa said. 

“On the procurement of vaccines, it is advised that 435 600 doses were received on November 5, 2021, bringing the cumulative number of vaccines received to date to 13,258 million doses.  

“Government takes this opportunity to assure the nation that most of the country’s vaccines still have some years to go before expiration.” 

Meanwhile, the minister said the government is going to build 3 000 new schools by 2025 as demand for education continues to rise. 

“Cabinet considered and approved the construction of government boarding schools as presented by the minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare…(Paul) Mavima, as chairperson of the Cabinet committee on social services and poverty eradication,” Mutsvangwa said.  

“The nation is informed that the country has realised a phenomenal increase in learner enrolment, and this has resulted in the need for the establishment of more primary and secondary schools. 

“Currently, there are 9 778 schools, with 6 798 primary and 2 980 being secondary schools, and a total enrolment of 4 659 993. Only 1,9 percent of the 6 798 primary schools are boarding schools, with only 35 of these being government owned. 

“The project will be implemented in phases next year starting with 144 model 21st century government primary and secondary boarding schools spread across all the country’s 10 provinces.  

“The demand for education continues rising, with 37,3 percent of the country’s estimated total population being of school-going age.” – Daily News