The panicky Zimbabwean government says the country has entered a Coronavirus danger-zone in which daily updates are now made in terms of deaths rather than confirmed cases.
In a statement Monday, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa urged all citizens to help stop the spread of the virus as cases and deaths more than doubled over the past week.
"Fellow Zimbabweans the day we knew would come, but hoped would pass us by is now upon us. We are at a time where we speak more of how many of our loved ones have passed on than how many have tested positive," she said.
"This is not an easy time for the nation. Each one of us has a critical role to play in the battle that is before us. The Inter-Ministerial Taskforce continues to make preparation so that we can deal with the eye of the storm."
Mutsvangwa said members of the Covid-19 national taskforce have visited the country's 10 provinces to assess the situation and had brought back grim and scary reports.
"Over the weekend, members of the national taskforce visited provincial Taskforce structures across the country in order to inspect and monitor the progress these structures have made in the fight against the pandemic. These visits also sought to address province-specific challenges and to also evaluate localised COVID-19 responses."
She however said progress had been made in establishing isolation centres for those infected.
"The national taskforce noted that there was progress in the rehabilitation and renovation of identified isolation centres, with some facilities now complete and already admitting mild cases and those cases that cannot self-isolate in their homes," she said.
She also bemoaned high cases of irregular migration and border jumping which are widely blamed for the proliferation of untraceable cases.
"The taskforce noted with concern continued cases of illegal border crossers, but it commends responsible citizens who are apprising the police and health officials of these potential threats to local communities," she said.
Meanwhile, from Chinhoyi, James Muonwa reports that Mutsvangwa who heads the Mashonaland West ministerial taskforce told government officials at the weekend that Covid-19 figures painted a grim picture.
"It's real, Covid-19 has come closer home. It is now widespread in our communities. As leaders go out there and tell people to adhere to regulations because this is not about government or the president saying 'stay at home', it's about our lives," she said.
"These figures paint a grim picture. We're in a war, let's fight together."
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe National Family Planning Council (ZNFPC) Monday closed its Chinhoyi branch after one of its staff members tested Covid-19 positive.
The female ZNFPC staffer underwent testing after her husband was diagnosed positive in Harare. This prompted the organisation to shut its doors to the public while 14 employees who were in direct contact with the patient also underwent compulsory testing and are awaiting results.
ZNFPC Mashonaland West provincial manager, Geshema Madzingaidzo confirmed the closure of the ZNFPC Chinhoyi branch.
"Indeed, we have one of our female workers whose husband tested positive for COVID-19. She was also tested and results came on Thursday confirming she was also positive.
"As a precautionary measure, we asked all our employees who were in direct contact with her to get tested and we are awaiting results," Madzingaidzo told NewZimbabwe.com.