UPDATED : Lockdown extended

Source: UPDATED : Lockdown extended | Herald (Top Stories)

President addresses the nation on new Covid-19 lockdown measures in Harare yesterday. — Pictures: Justin Mutenda.

Fungi Kwaramba
Political Editor
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday extended a revised the national lockdown level 4 by another two weeks as the country seeks to ensure that deaths from Covid-19 further come down, while giving health professionals time to investigate and monitor the presence of new variants that could be in circulation.

Last month the country reverted to the level 4 lockdown after witnessing a surge in infections of Covid-19. Although deaths from the virus have fallen the President said there is need to remain vigilant because every life lost matters.

“While the national lockdown goals are now within sight, the numbers 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 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 time to investigate and, monitor the presence and circulation of new variants,” said the President.

Under the new set of measures that will be effective today, hours of business will be from 8am to 5pm, while the curfew is now from 8pm to 5.30am.

Staffing levels in Government will be increased from 10 percent to 25 percent, while those in the informal sector may only open once they have satisfied WHO protocols, that include testing, washing hands and social distancing.

Gatherings for people at funerals will remain pegged at 30 people with other social gatherings remaining banned. Non-essential workers and shops will remain closed for the next two weeks.

Schools will also remain closed while the Ministry of Health and Child Care is going to increase testing, with those companies in the private sector seeking commencement of operations expected to test their employees in accordance to the WHO guidelines.

The President saluted Zimbabweans for their discipline after the country witnessed a marked decline in infections and reassured the nation that the ultimate goal is to open the economy, something that can be achieved through a comprehensive Covid-19 vaccination programme that seeks to have 60 percent of the population inoculated against the plague.

“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 government for this gesture of great humanity. We will forever remain grateful to the Chinese government and people for standing with us.

“I am also happy that the second consignment of vaccines procured from the People’s Republic of China will be received in a few weeks. As already indicated vaccines from other countries namely Russia, India and the United Kingdom, are also on the way. That should see our pace of vaccinating thus drawing us nearer the goal of achieving herd immunity.

“The ultimate goal is return to our normal lives so our children can go back to school and that we all resume our collective efforts towards recovery and growing our economy for the realisation of vision 2030. Therefore, the vaccines rollout programme will be announced by the Minister of Health and Child Care  Let me take this opportunity to remind you to remain vigilant, focused and continue to adhere to all the lockdown measures. The health of our nation depends on us all,” he said.

To tackle the pandemic, President Mnangagwa has assured the nation that no resource will be spared to save the lives of Zimbabweans as Government sets the target of inoculating 60 percent of the country’s population.

The vaccination programme that is expected to be rolled-out soon will be on a voluntary basis with Government bearing all the costs.