Govt ease on lockdown measures no sign of victory over Covid-19: Minister

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By Staff Reporter

INFORMATION minister Monica Mutsvangwa says the continued easing of the country’s Covid-19 lockdown restrictions should not be misconstrued as a sign the country was winning the war against the pandemic but rather, it was balancing protection of lives and economic interests.

She said this in a Monday statement while announcing a further government relaxation on Covid-19 lockdown measures.

As part of the new regulations, government extended operating hours for retail, wholesale and service businesses to the period 6:30am to 6:30pm.

Before that, business operating hours were restricted to between 8am-4:30pm.

In relaxing the country’s lockdown regulations, Mutsvangwa said government sought to carefully reopen the economy while at the same time containing the spread of the pandemic.

Mutsvangwa, who is also spokesperson for the inter-ministerial taskforce on Covid-19, said government would continue cautiously relaxing coronavirus lockdown regulations.

She said the taskforce, at its meeting earlier in the day, welcomed the cabinet directive to further relax the tourism and hospitality industry, adding the attorney general’s office was now in the process of gazetting a statutory instrument to allow for the reopening of the aviation sector.

“As we gradually open the economy, we need to remember that we are doing this, while taking all necessary precautions to fight the invisible enemy, Covid-19.

“The easing of lockdown restrictions is not an indication that we have defeated this pandemic, but we are a nation seeking to balance between our economic interests and the protection of life,” Mutsvangwa said.

She added that preparations for reopening of Victoria Falls International airport, training of staff as well as assessment of ports of entry were ongoing.

“Work is advanced in the preparations for the re-opening of the Victoria Falls International Airport. This includes the assessment and staff training. The readiness of other ports of entry is under assessment and the nation will be advised.

“The taskforce noted that the sale and consumption of liquor by licensees is in three categories. The categories include licensees that may sell liquor to customers for consumption off the premises during licensed hours. These include wholesalers, wine producers and bottle stores.

“Liquor may now also be sold to customers for consumption on the premises during licensed hours which include restaurants, airports, recreational park areas, houseboats, camps, caravan parks, casinos and theaters,” she added.