Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Tuesday imposed a dusk to dawn curfew and reduced working hours back to a 3pm close, as part of measures to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. This comes as the number of local transmissions has risen by over 200 percent in the past week. The southern African nation has now recorded 1 713 confirmed cases up from 985 cases recorded by last week. The number of deaths has now risen to 26 from 18 Local transmissions now exceed imported cases at 872 against 841.
In a televised address, President Mnangagwa said that it would be irresponsible of government not to tighten the lockdown measures to minimise the loss of lives. The measures will apply effective from tomorrow. Critics of the government say the new measures also seek to stop planned protests on July 31, 2020.
He said more worrying was that South Africa, the country’s neighbour and major trading partner, ranks fifth globally on number of infections, after the United States of America, Brazil, India and Russia. “The affinities and intense, multi-layered interactions between our two countries mean we have a very serious situation on our doorstep. This is coupled with an upsurge recorded in all our other neighbouring states. Therefore, this sobering reality means that we can no longer be complacent, and that requires urgent and decisive measures.”
President Mnangagwa announced a curfew from dusk-to-dawn curfew daily starting at 1800hrs and ending at 0600hrs, which exempts essential services. The business day has been cut to 0800hrs to 1500hrs to allow workers to be home before the onset of the curfew. The closing time was 1630hrs previously. He also announced that the non-employed population should restrict movement to essentials which are food, water and health services and there should be strict observance of WHO guidelines for SME’s with designated/allocated workspaces as they have been allowed to continue operations.
Food markets will remain open and operational but must observe set measures, rules and requirements meant to uphold public health. Suppliers to markets should be facilitated to reach the markets, including by security forces. Intercity public transport and inessential transport to all rural areas however remains banned.