Zimbabwe Begins 30-Day Lockdown As COVID-19 Ravages Nation

January 2, 2021
| Report Focus News
A worker disinfects a bus in Harare, Zimbabwe on Dec. 31, 2020. Photographer: Wilfred Kajese/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The Zimbabwean government plans to start 30 days of lockdown regulations following an increase of coronavirus infections during the festive season, vice president Constatino Chiwenga said late Saturday

In an address to the nation monitored on the state-controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation he said local people should stay indoors and restaurants, bars, bottle stores have been shutdown.

“We have seen a surge in COVID-19 cases during this festive season with 1,342 COVID-19 cases and 29 deaths being recorded in a week representing the highest recorded so far. We have seen the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths almost double in two months from 8,374 on 1 November to 14,084 to date.

“In light of the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, the following strict lockdown measures are being put in place with immediate effect. Gatherings are reduced to not more than 30 people at all funerals, all other gatherings, weddings and churches, bars, bottle stores gymnasiums, restaurants, etc, are banned for 30 days.”

He said existing COVID-19 health measures will be strictly enforced, which include the correct wearing of face masks, social distancing, hand sanitization and temperature checks.

“Offenders will be prosecuted, only essential services are to remain open such as hospitals, pharmacies and supermarkets with only essential staff allowed to come to work. They open at 6am and must close at 3pm and will be subject to a curfew that will start at 6:00pm and end at 6:00am. Of the other commercial services, only part four lockdown order services such as mining manufacturing and agriculture will operate as before.”

He said commercial services specified in part five of the lockdown order – formal businesses and registered informal traders – will be suspended from Tuesday 5 January, 2021, for 30 days.

Chiwenga noted that interprovincial and intercity transport services are restricted only to essential services and part four commercial services.

“People must stay at home, save for buying food and medicine or transporting sick relatives. Other exceptions are as specified in the lockdown order. As for schooling only examinations classes are to open now. Cross border traders are stopped forthwith, save for commercial and transit cargo related to essential and critical services.”

He said air transport remains unhindered and will continue as before with arrivals and returning residents being required to present COVID-19 free certificates.

“As for land access only returning residents and essential drivers will be admitted subject to presentation of COVID-19 free certificates. These certificates must have been issued at least 48 hours before departure. Lastly, just to be clear, restaurants, bottle stores and bars are closed for 30 days except for bars and restaurants serving hotel residents. Also tourist facilities and national parks will operate as before subject to the usual health precautions.”