Intercity travel banned, dusk-to-dawn curfew imposed in new COVID-19 measures

(pic: AFP/Jekesai Njikizana)

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has announced a tighter curfew, slashed business hours and banned all inter-city travel in a response to rising COVID19 cases.

The measures take effect immediately and will be reviewed in two weeks.

Here are the measures announced:

  • Businesses are to decongest workplaces to 40% and observe WHO Covid-19 guidelines.
  • Business hours are 0800hrs to 1530hrs 
  • Curfew will be from 1830hrs-6am
  • Intercity travel is banned save for essential services
  • Commercial transport will continue to operate
  • If you are deported to Zimbabwe, you will be subject to mandatory quarantine
  • Travellers with fake Covid-19 certificates risk a custodial sentence.
  • Travelers from countries with the Alpha and Delta variants (the variants first identified in UK and India, respectively) will be quarantined and tested on Day 1, Day 3, Day 5 and Day 10 at their own expense
  • A COVID-19 vaccination blitz launched to target border areas, tobacco auction floors, GMB depots, cotton depots, construction sites and markets such as Renkini in Bulawayo and Mbare in Harare.

The lockdown measures come after business groups such as the Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe urged government not to impose a national lockdown, but to instead continue its strategy to target hotspots.

The Ministry of Health has identified hotspots in Mashonaland West, Masvingo, Bulawayo and the Midlands.

However, Mnangagwa said the new measures were necessary “following a recent surge in COVID-19 cases” which followed the localised lockdown measures.

“As we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, I call upon the whole nation to continue observing the WHO protocols, as well as to embrace the free vaccination programme that is led by Government to protect all our people,” Mnangagwa said.

In the week to June 25, the seven-day rolling average for new cases more than doubled. From the 19th to the 25th of June, an average of 554 cases were reported per day, compared to an average of 235 cases per day in the previous week, according to the Ministry of Health data.