Zimbabwe eases Covid-19 lockdown, allows gatherings and inter-city travel

HARARE – Zimbabwe eased Covid-19 lockdown measures on Tuesday as President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced longer operating hours for businesses, the lifting of a ban on inter-city travel and allowing public gatherings of a maximum 100 people.

A curfew previously effective between 6PM and 6AM was also shortened to between 10PM and 5.30AM.

In a televised address, Mnangagwa said the low number of deaths justified the new measures.

Mnangagwa said: “The daily average of deaths has decreased from 20 to 10. It is a clear demonstration that the government’s implementation of public health and social measures including lockdowns in collaboration with all sectors and stakeholders is paying off.

“I’m therefore reducing the current Level 4 lockdown to Level 2 lockdown.”

Mnangagwa said the measures would be reviewed on September 21.

The Level 2 lockdown measures include;

  • Curfew beginning at 10PM and ending at 5.30AM.
  • Ordinary business enterprises to operate between 8AM and 7PM.
  • Restaurants and bars within hotels and lodges to open between 8AM and 10PM.
  • Liqour stores may sell alcohol for consumption off the premises between 10AM and 4PM.
  • Beer outlets and nightclubs to remain closed during lockdown.
  • Public gatherings to be limited to not more than 100 people with observance of public health measures such as wearing of masks, hand sanitisation, social distancing and temperature checks and people being encouraged to be vaccinated.
  • Decongestion of offices shall be at 50 percent of ordinary capacity.
  • Intercity transport is permitted with observance of public health measures.
  • Low risk sporting activities shall operate from 8AM to 3PM while observing public health measures.
  • Medium to high-risk sporting activities shall obtain approval beforehand.
  • Persons entering Zimbabwe from neighbouring and other countries must obtain a Covid-19 PCR test not more than 48 hours from the time of their departure for Zimbabwe.

Mnangagwa said “the threat of the pandemic still exists” with new variants of the virus being reported.

“Vaccination is a critical prevention measure and I therefore urge all of us to be vaccinated and continue to adhere to all the other prevention measures… We must remain focused on ending this pandemic for the health of our nation and our economy,” he said.

Zimbabwe has recorded 125,671 Covid-19 cases and 4,493 deaths since the start of the outbreak last year, with more than half of these in the past two months.

The country has so far vaccinated 2.7 million people, against a target of inoculating two-thirds of its 15 million population by the end of the year. Mnangagwa’s government says it has paid for 12 million Covid-19 doses from China.

Author: Staff Writer

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