Mnangagwa extends Covid-19 lockdown indefinitely

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By Leopold Munhende

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has extended the country’s lockdown period indefinitely with his government now set to assess the country’s Covid-19 situation at two week intervals.

In an address to the nation from State House Saturday, Mnangagwa announced the country will remain under Level 2 lockdown as efforts were being made to increase the country’s capacity for testing, contact tracing and treatment.

“Zimbabwe will therefore continue on the Level 2 lockdown for an indefinite period,” Mnangagwa said.

“We shall have regular two-week interval reviews to assess progress or lack of it. This should give us more time to strengthen the prevention and case management approaches for various risk populations.

“The modified phase reopening will further allow us to increase surveillance including early detection, testing, isolation, contact tracing, treatment and care with focus on high risk populations.”

Level 2 put in place further restrictions and precautions which businesses have to heed after being given the greenlight to reopen.

Closing hours for shops have however been extended from 3pm to 4.30pm.

The phase, announced two weeks ago when Mnangagwa further extended the lockdown period, makes it illegal for anyone to walk around in a public place without a face mask.

Mnangagwa’s restrictions have been questioned by civil society groups which feel there were not enough safety nets for ordinary citizens and informal traders who lost their only means of survival when the country imposed its lockdown end of March.

Their pleas have however not been addressed.

Added Mnangagwa: “Government noted with satisfaction the continued positive impact of the lockdown measures our country has implemented since 30 March, to date. Initial estimates indicated that by 29th April, Zimbabwe would have about 1 000 confirmed cases of Covid-19.”

Zimbabwe has recorded 42 cases of the pandemic, among them, four deaths and 13 recoveries.