Courts Halt Trials As Covid Soars

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By Mary Taruvinga

ALL Magistrates’ courts countrywide will now be dealing with initial and urgent cases only to avoid congestion, the chief magistrate has announced.

Trials and none urgent cases have been halted immediately while the staff has been further reduced from 40 to 30 percent.

In a letter written by magistrate Ngoni Nduna on behalf of the chief magistrate, the issue of remands will also be dealt with urgently.

Wrote Nduna in a letter addressed to provincial heads and  regional magistrates: “Previously it was directed that all courts must operate at 40 percent in terms of staff attendance at work places and conducting normal operations.

“It has become necessary in view of the prevailing Covid-19 situation to further reduce our staff levels at work at any particular moments to 30 percent,” he said.

“We must now be dealing with remands and urgent applications /matters till further directions are issued. Remands must be dealt with speedily so that we don’t group members of the public at one place for than is necessary. May the above be implemented immidiately,” the letter further reads.

Recently new courts were opened in some of Harare’s and Bulawayo’s high-density suburbs to minimize the numbers of people attending the main courts.

The directive comes at a time the country is grappling with new cases of the deadly pandemic.

In desperate attempts to curb the spread, authorities introduced a level four lockdown with most recent measure being barring of traveling from Harare dormitory suburbs.

On Sunday alone 1006 new cases were recorded plus 34 new deaths.

Total Covid-19 deaths stands at 2622.