Zimbabwe’s lockdown extended

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The 21 day lockdown, imposed by the government of Zimbabwe on the country to contain the spread of COVID-19, which was to expire midnight today, has been, with immediate effect, extended by two more weeks to May 3, 2020.

Speaking in a televised address on April 19, 2020, Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa expressed that the country was yet to meet the World Health Organization (WHO) conditions for lifting the lockdown which include the need to have in place systems that are capable to test, isolate, treat and trace every contact.

“The need to lift the lockdown is when the transmissions of the virus are fairly under control,” added President Mnangagwa.

He revealed that incidences of infection in Zimbabwe have risen to 25, comprising both imported and local transmissions, showing that the country was now dealing with in-country transmissions.

“We are also facing a new situation where more and more of our citizens are coming back home including from countries heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“This presents an unavoidable but growing threat to our nation as we must accommodate all our returning citizens.”

Guided by these realities and to allow Zimbabweans leeway to prepare for worse times ahead, Mnangagwa said the government had thus decided to extend the national lockdown.

“It has been a very hard decision my government has had to take reluctantly but it has been a necessary and unavoidable decision considering the circumstances in which we find ourselves.”

During the lockdown, the mining sector has been given reprieve to resume or scale up operations within the parameters set by the WHO, with the parent ministry working closely with the Ministry of Health and Child Care.

Staff in the mining sector will also have to undergo immediate screening and testing ahead of operations resumption.

The manufacturing sector, including the informal sector and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) has also been given the go ahead to operate, though at subdued levels, with inspectors expected to visit all operations to ensure that restrictions are being strictly adhered to.

“Essential services continue as before, operating within designated times and parameters as already announced,” said the President.

He added that the measures by the Ministry of Social Welfare, including cash disbursements, had to be fine-tuned so that needy families would be supported throughout the lockdown.

President Mnangagwa said the security arms would also step in to facilitate essential movement.

Zimbabwe went into lockdown on the 30th of March 2020 and as of April 19, 2020, Zimbabwe has 25 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with three deaths and one recovery.

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