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Zimbabwe to Forcibly Vaccinate All Civil Servants, Reduce Workplace Attendances As COVID-19 Ravages Nation

 President Emmerson Mnangagwa
President Emmerson Mnangagwa

Government departments in Zimbabwe have been directed to reduce the number of people going to work and ensure that all civil servants are vaccinated amid an upsurge in COVID-19 cases nationwide.

In a circular dated July 19, 2021, and copied to all heads of line ministries and government departments, Public Service Commission (PSC) secretary Ambassador J. Wutawunashe, said these measures should be implemented with immediate effect.

The circular indicated that they should reduce the number of staff going to work from 40 to 10 percent for all line ministries, departments and agencies with the exception of the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare and designated critical services.

Wutawunashe said all civil servants are considered to be front line workers as indicated by the health authorities. As a result, “… Heads of ministries are therefore directed to ensure that all civil servants under their jurisdiction are vaccinated.”

But some independent health experts said it was unconstitutional for the government to force civil servants to be vaccinated.

According to Wutawunashe, line ministries are also expected to rotate workers in such a manner that no employee shall remain at home for more than 21 days at a stretch.

At the same time, the government has decided to regularly fumigate staff buses in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“The PSC shall ensure the fumigation of buses daily and after each trip. Only members with proof of vaccination against COVID-19 shall board PSC buses. The PSC shall observe social distancing in buses with each bus carrying a maximum of 35 passengers.”

Wutawunashe said heads of ministries should ensure that staff members working from home are capacitated with ICT equipment with adequate Internet facilities for them to work efficiently and productively.

“Those coming to work places must also be supported with efficient and sufficient bandwith to facilitate the holding of virtual meetings and other e-enabled communication.

“All ministries are urged to cooperate as we remain alert in combating this pandemic, which will certainly be overcome through adherence to conduct and protocols prescribed by Zimbabwe health authorities as guided by the World Health Organization.”

The Ministry of Health reports that 75 people died of COVID-19 in Zimbabwe on Monday while 2,113 tested positive for coronavirus.

Zimbabwe has recorded 85,732 COVID-19 cases since March last year, 55,714 recoveries and 2,697 deaths. To date, a total of 1,184.435 people have been vaccinated against COVID-19.