Zimbabwe imposes curfew in tighter COVID19 measures

(pic: AP)

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has announced a 6PM-6AM curfew as part of a raft of lockdown measures that he says are necessary to halt the spike in local transmissions of COVID-19.

Below are some of the highlights of the measures announced on Tuesday evening:

  • Social gatherings, such as church meetings, remain banned
  • There will be a dust to dawn curfew between 6PM and 6AM daily. Only essential services will be allowed during this time
  • All business premises are to observe WHO measures, such as sanitising their facilities and enforcing the wearing of masks
  • Food markets will remain open, but must observe health measures. Suppliers to these markets will be allowed to operate
  • Intercity transport remains banned. All approved buses should ensure public health measures, such as screening of passengers and disinfection after each round trip

“I as your President, will come back to you to announce the easing of these measures once the situation has improved,” Mnangagwa said.

As at Monday, Zimbabwe had recorded 1713 confirmed cases of coronavirus, a number that includes 472 recoveries. A total of 26 people had died.

According to Mnangagwa, the measures are needed due to the rising community infections.

“For the first time, local transmissions now exceed imported cases; the former standing at 872 and the latter at 841. Another worrisome development is that more and more cases are being reported at workplaces. COVID19 is, thus, no longer a problem out there, far and beyond our borders. Rather, it is now here, amongst us, and in our communities.”

On Monday, the government announced that it would only allow critical staff in the civil service to report for work. The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education has suspended all in-person lectures at teachers’ colleges, polytechnic and training colleges, saying rising cases place the health of students and staff at risk.

“In view of the foregoing, the Ministry is hereby directing that all tertiary education institutions, with immediate effect, suspend face-to-face lectures on campus and continue with e-learning. In this regard, all students should vacate residence by Friday, 24 July 2020,” the Ministry said.

This week, several companies were forced to temporarily close down some sites due to COVID-19. These include CIMAS, Econet, FedEx, a Bon Marche outlet, starafricacorporation and NMB.

Cases are rising at a time the country’s public hospitals are paralysed by strike action by nurses and doctors.