Govt bans public gatherings on Easter holiday

By Staff Writer

GOVERNMENT has banned all church leaders from holding public gatherings during the Easter holidays at venues without running water in the wake of a spike in cholera cases, some of which have resulted in fatalities.

Authorities said they were concerned that some denominations, particularly Apostolic sects, continue to gather in places without safe water or sanitation facilities.

Presenting the post-Cabinet briefing in Harare on Tuesday, Information Minister, Jenfan Muswere said acting Minister of Health and Child Care, Paul Mavima updated Cabinet on the national cholera outbreak response.

Muswere said Zimbabwe has recorded 29 144 cumulative suspected cholera cases. This marks a rise from the 27 182 suspected cases, 2 734 confirmed cases, and 26 482 recoveries recorded on March 5.

“Cabinet noted with concern that some churches continue to gather in places without safe water or sanitation facilities. His Excellency the President, Cde. Dr. Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, has since directed that solarized water facilities and boreholes should be installed to ensure the provision of safe water and sanitation at Karuyana Shrine among other sites,” said Muswere.

The minister highlighted that the government has intensified monitoring and supervision to curb the further spread of the deadly bacterial disease ahead of Easter festivities.

“In light of the impending Easter holidays, the Cabinet has directed the Ministry of Health and Child Care to intensify monitoring and supervision of all gatherings to minimise the spread of cholera.

“Cabinet further directed that going forward, no church gatherings must take place until church leaders install solar powered boreholes or bush pump boreholes as Zimbabwe’s cumulative suspected cholera cases are 29 144,” said Muswere.

He noted that the Health Ministry continues to conduct integrated training in case management, surveillance, infection prevention and control, and social mobilisation for Midlands, Masvingo, Mashonaland Central, and Mashonaland West provinces to augment staff already trained.

“Known hotspots are being targeted with community awareness and the deployment of oral rehydration points and establishment of cholera treatment camps.”

Furthermore, the ministry is reportedly working with Apostolic Women Empowerment Trust in training interfaith leaders in Manicaland and Masvingo provinces, to strengthen actions to address collaborative and collective initiatives in the response to the cholera and polio outbreaks.

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