(Last Updated on February 15, 2021 by GERALD NCUBE)
HARARE – President Emmerson Mnangagwa today announced the extension of the current level four national lockdown by a further two weeks albeit with a few adjustments.
Zimbabwe has been on a stricter level 4 lockdown since early January following a surge in Covid-19 cases particularly during the festive season.
During his address, Mnangagwa said while the cases had decreased, there was still a need to have measures to further reduce the number of cases while experts were investigating possible new variants.
“While the national lockdown goals are now within sight, the number of active cases and deaths, however, are still very high. These need to come down further, every life lost is a big loss to us. I, therefore, extend the national lockdown by a further two weeks.
“The extension will allow the number of active cases and those still in incubation to recede. This extension should cause a great reduction in the pool of infected people, enable health personnel to investigate and monitor the presence and circulation of new variants,” he said.
Some of the measures have been adjusted including the extension of the business hours which will now operate from until 5 pm while the curfew will now start at 8 pm moving from the current 6 pm order.
Mnangagwa said more vaccines were soon going to arrive, procured from various countries such as India, Russia and the United Kingdom, adding that a second consignment from China was soon going to arrive.
“As I address you, our nation this morning received its first consignment of vaccines from the People’s Republic of China. Let me again thank the Chinese govt for this gesture of great humanity. We will forever remain grateful to the Chinese government and people for standing with us.
“I’m also happy that the second consignment of vaccines procured from the People’s Republic of China will be received in a few weeks time. As already indicated, vaccines from other countries namely Russia, India and the United Kingdom are also on the way,” Mnangagwa added.
Adding that this should increase the pace of vaccinating the public while reiterating that it will be voluntarily.
He also thanked citizens for adhering to the set regulations and urged them to continue following all the guidelines put in place.
The new measures will operate as follows:
•hours of business will 0800 hours 1700 hours in the afternoon
•curfew is from 2000 hours to 0530 hours in the morning
•no inter-city or inter-provincial commuting
•funeral gatherings to remain pegged at 30 people with all social gatherings remaining banned. All burials are to be handled according to the World Health Organisation protocols and regulations
•esential services to remain functional
•government manning levels to increase from 10% to 25%
•the ministry of health and childcare would increase testing across the country
•all companies seeking resumption of operation should test their employees in compliance with the World Health Organisation protocols
•the judiciary will open for only urgent cases to be heard, no one is allowed in the gallery, all who attend court will be tested
•schools will remain closed for the duration of this extension
•our markets shall remain open but observing social distancing and those in the informal sector may only open once they have satisfied the WHO protocols