THE Covid-19 death toll has risen to 291 after 10 more people succumbed to the global pandemic on Saturday including ZBC’s diplomatic correspondent Janet Munyaka.
She was 48.
Munyaka died Saturday evening at Harare’s St Anne’s hospital where she had been admitted since last week battling Covid-19.
The Ministry of Health and Child Care says of the 10 deaths recorded on Saturday, nine were from Harare and only one from Bulawayo.
A total of 70 people tested positive to Covid-19 countrywide bringing the total number of cases to 10 617.
“We recorded 70 new cases and 10 deaths in the last 24 hours where 1 577 PCR tests were conducted. Of those who tested positive 50 are local cases and 20 are returnees from South Africa,” said the Ministry.
The Ministry also reported that 46 new recoveries were recorded countrywide although the national recovery rate went down to 81,4 percent from 85.
As of December 5, Zimbabwe had recorded 10 617 cases, 8 844 recoveries and 291 deaths.
Bulawayo has the highest number of active Covid-19 cases at 565 against a national total of 1 482. Covid-19 deaths and new cases have been on the increase in what experts have described as a second wave of the devastating pandemic which is likely to kill hundreds if people do not practice hand hygiene, social distancing and the wearing of masks correctly.
In a statement, the ZBC said Munyaka is survived by husband, Jackson and four children.
ZBC acting chief executive officer Ms Halliet Rushwaya said Munyaka was supposed to have graduated with a Masters Degree in International Relations at the University of Zimbabwe last Friday but missed the ceremony after being hospitalised.
“This is a great loss to us at ZBC and to the media fraternity. Janet was a veteran journalist and a friend to many in the industry. Our thoughts are with her family at this difficult time,” she said.
Munyaka joined the ZBC in 2000 as production assistant in the news department after studying Mass Communication at Harare Polytechnic College.
She rose through the ranks from production assistant to municipal correspondent, health correspondent before being promoted to Diplomatic Correspondent, taking over from the late Judith Makwanya.
In her weekly report, Chief Co-ordinator of the national response to the Covid-19 pandemic in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Dr Agnes Mahomva said the country had already started the process which will ensure a safe and effective vaccine is rolled out to stop the spread of the global pandemic.
She said Zimbabwe is part of a global ground-breaking initiative led by WHO, known as Covax, which plans to secure and distribute millions of doses of vaccines to African countries, once licensed and approved.
The initiative, which seeks to secure at least 220 million doses for the continent, will enable fast and equitable distribution of the vaccines.
Through the Covax initiative, vaccines that pass regulatory approval will be delivered equally to all participating countries in proportion to their population.
“Zimbabwe will only roll out approved vaccines that have been analysed and found to be effective and safe for use,” said Dr Mahomva.
She said Zimbabwe conducted its first baseline vaccine readiness assessment on October 13, 2020 using the Covax facility template.
A follow up assessment was conducted on 26 November with help from various Covid-19 vaccine players and stakeholders including the WHO, Unicef and partners.
“Results of the two assessments show that Zimbabwe has made good progress in preparing for the roll out of a safe and approved Covid-19 vaccine,” said Dr Mahomva.