Government extends lockdown indefinitely

©️  PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday extended the national lockdown indefinitely, saying the country still had a long way to go in combating the spread of the deadly coronavirus(Covid-19).
This comes as Zimbabwe’s confirmed Covid-19 cases have shot up to 42, including four deaths and 13 recoveries — with health experts warning that the government should forestall a health catastrophe by embarking on mass testing of people and increasing surveillance at ports of entry in the wake of rising cases of coronavirus through local transmission.
Mnangagwa said yesterday that while indications were that Zimbabwe had a reduced Covid-19 trajectory, there was still need for the country to ease out of the shutdown in a strategic and gradual manner, to maintain the positive momentum.
“Despite these many achievements in the implementation of the National Preparedness and Response Plan, the outbreak is not over, and our country still has some gaps.
“These gaps are being addressed in a targeted way, using a comprehensive Covid-19 preparedness and response strategy which takes into account risks and needs of different communities and populations.
“Zimbabwe will, therefore, continue on level two lockdown for an indefinite period. We shall have regular two-week interval reviews to assess progress or lack of it,” Mnangagwa said.
The national lockdown, which was to end at midnight today, was first put in place on March 30 — and has been extended twice.
So far, Zimbabwe has carried out just over 25 400 coronavirus tests, against a target of 40 000.
Mnangagwa also indicated that bars and gymnasiums would remain closed, while inter-city and cross-boarder movement of people by road or air transport would remain banned — except for the transportation of cargo.
In this regard too, only Zupco buses and Zupco-contracted commuter omnibuses would be allowed to operate.
He further said that public examination classes within schools and final year students at colleges and universities would be allowed to continue as guided by Covid-19 preventative measures — adding that plans for the re-opening of schools must continue to be put in place.
“All businesses and industries seeking to re-open must follow laid down measures previously announced in relation to social distancing, hand sanitisation, temperature checks and health education, among others.
“In addition, employees must undergo regular health checks and daily temperature monitoring. Shops and supermarkets should continue to enforce the social distancing of their customers,” Mnangagwa said — adding that operating hours for business had been adjusted to be from 8am to 4:30pm.
The president recently said that saving lives was more important than saving the economy, in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The lockdown means that we are putting the preservation of life as a priority. But … we are also exposing our fragile economy and the impact of the pandemic in terms of our industry and our economy being attacked because of the lockdown.
“It is critically important that if we preserve life, a day might come where we can say the pandemic is behind us and now let us look at reconstructing our economy,” he said while addressing businesses that presented him with Covid-19 donations last week.


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