By Idah Mhetu
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has decreed an immediate curfew on locals and further banned church gatherings in his latest measures to contain surging cases of coronavirus in the country.
He made the announcement in a special address to the nation at State House Tuesday in the wake of the health crisis that continues to affect many locals.
The curfew, which begins this Wednesday, has been set 6 pm to 6 am every day and shall run over an indefinite period.
It could also be a preemptive measure by the highest authority to stop planned ant-government national demonstrations which have been set for July 31.
Except for locals working under essential services, the rest of the citizens have been ordered to stay at home.
Only travel to buy some goods from shops and some medication would be allowed.
Businesses would be allowed to operate between 8 am and 3 pm every day.
Mnangagwa said social and political public gatherings which include weddings and congregations shall remain banned while funeral gatherings remain under the stipulated maximum of 50 mourners..
He said anyone who breaches conditions of isolation shall face punishment.
The President said all intercity transport remains banned except for registered operators who are expected to observe the lockdown regulations.
“All intercity remain banned. Only approved buses to continue,” Mnangagwa said.
He also said only registered SMES will be allowed to operate and food markets will remain open but under strict supervision.
The wearing of face masks shall remain mandatory and this shall apply to public premises where compulsory screening will be effected.
The President further said all security services to be on the streets to enforce the curfew.
Zimbabwe’s Covid-19 cases have shot beyond 1 700 in a matter of few weeks with signs of a further spread among locals.
Some 26 deaths have been recorded so far.
Mnangagwa admitted Monday the country’s fragile economy and health system were not able to contain the surge in the cases.