BREAKING: Mnangagwa extends Zimbabwe lockdown by 14 days

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Anna Chibamu

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has extended by another 14 days, the country’s lockdown against the spread of coronavirus.

In a special address to the nation at State House Sunday afternoon, Mnangagwa said the country has not yet been able to meet the benchmarks set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for any country to emerge safely from a lockdown.

These, he said, involved increasing the country’s capacity to conduct mass tests and prepare the health system to handle a jump in cases of a disease that has devastated the entire world.

“As I have also already indicated, worldwide cases of infections continue to gallop with the world health organisation counselling against relaxing lockdowns currently adopted by almost all countries of the world,” Mnangagwa said.

“Guided by these realities and to allow ourselves greater leeway to prepare for worse times which are lurking ahead, government has decided to extend, with immediate effect, the national lockdown by a further 14 days.

“That means the national lockdown which would have expired at midnight stands extended by another two weeks up to third May 2020.”

He added, “It has been a very hard decision by government to take reluctantly but it has been a necessary and unavoidable decision in circumstances which we find ourselves in.”

He also assured the nation that government would stop at nothing to make sure all its health institutions were fully equipped to handle the highly challenging health catastrophe.

The President said government’s main thrust was to flatten the country’s Covid-19 cases curve which reached 25 positive cases on Saturday with fatalities still on three.

Currently, 2 226 tests have been done as more tests are expected to be carried out soon.

“Our main focus is to flatten and arrest the curve and we also want to see more recoveries,” Mnangagwa said.

“Our main threat currently is those citizens who are coming home from Covid-19 epicenter countries.

“We still need to meet conditions by WHO so that we curb the spread of disease by putting them in isolation centres.”

Mnangagwa said the country’s security forces shall continue to ensure full compliance with the measures.