GOVERNMENT has begun decentralising health care operations in anticipation of more cases of COVID-19 in the upcoming winter season, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Friday.
The President said more tests were being conducted in several established centres in most major hospitals.
He was speaking in his state of the nation address in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak that has claimed one life among nine cases confirmed in Zimbabwe in the past 16 days.
Mnangagwa said his government has rolled out a robust testing programme on all suspected cases of the disease within the established centres.
"More isolation centres are being identified and more tests are being conducted," he said.
"The number of hospital beds devoted to patients continue to increase in readiness for a possible upsurge.
"Government has begun decentralising operations to encompass our entire territory given the mass movements of our people back to our rural areas.
"Additionally, more Zimbabweans are self-repatriating home from different countries and parts of the world."
The President also said the country was operating in a whole country emergence mode.
Mnangagwa also spoke on demands for personal protective equipment by healthcare workers who are at risk of contracting the virus as they were the frontline soldiers.
He concurred with the workers who last week downed tools demanding they be provided with protective clothing before embarking on duty.
"Elsewhere, the pandemic has shown potential risks to the health service personnel who are in the front-line. They need protective gear which is adequate and effective against infections. They must feel safe, secure and ensure care for us with confidence.
"Government shall therefore continue to prioritise the health and safety for these workers to make sure that every health worker is properly taken care of."
On ventilators, the President announced that its ally China had increased the production of these much-needed machines.
He paid tribute to the business community for responding positively to the cause of COVID-19 as well as universities that were manufacturing needed accessories in hospitals.