BY MOSES MATENGA
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday eased the country’s lockdown measures, paving way for the informal sector, industry and intercity travel to start operating as usual while adhering to COVID-19 protocols, but said beerhalls, bars and gymnasiums would remain closed.
Food outlets will only be open for takeaways.
In his national address to mark the end of level four national lockdown, Mnangagwa said travellers were no longer obliged to produce exemption letters, while curfew hours would start from 10pm to 5:30am.
Mnangagwa said schools, colleges and universities “must prepare to reopen”, but did not give any indication of when they would be allowed to resume face-to-face learning.
“Schools must prepare to open and put in place measures which observe the World Health Organisation (WHO) protocols and national COVID-19 guidelines. Virtual learning or long-distance learning is encouraged where possible,” he said.
“Universities and colleges must also prepare to open and ensure compliance with the WHO protocols and national guidelines. Virtual learning or long-distance
learning is equally encouraged where possible.”
He, however, did not make any reference to land borders which have been closed to foreign visitors since January 5, although there are no restrictions to air travel.
Zimbabwe has been under strict level 4 lockdown measures since January 5, 2021, as numbers of COVID-19 infections and deaths were soaring.
However, the country has begun to record zero deaths after observing the strict lockdown regulations.
To date, the country has lost 1 463 people to COVID-19, while over 36 000 others have been infected, but Mnangagwa warned against complacency.
Mnangagwa said more vaccines would be coming into the country.
“An overwhelming number of enquiries from those outside the first phase is encouraging as they show a desire to vaccinate. While the vaccination programme is voluntary, let us remain mindful of the need to protect ourselves, our loved ones and the entire nation,” he said.
“The vaccination will be administered for free. Private entities and organisations, who want to procure the vaccines for their staff or members, must be prepared to distribute the vaccine for free. Government will not allow any form of profiteering from the vaccination programme.”
Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe was expecting over 1,2 million doses from China, while more would be coming from Russia, the United Kingdom and India.
“Over and above the donated total of 400 000 doses, another 600 000 doses of Chinese vaccines will be arriving in the country next week. A further 1,2 million will be availed by Chinese companies.”
He said attendances at funerals and other public gatherings would remain restricted to 30, while churches will have a maximum of 50 congregants at any given time.
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