Zimbabwe goes back into more stringent lockdown as COVID-19 cases surge
The Zimbabwean government on Saturday restored a curfew and banned all gatherings, except for funerals, for 30 days as the country battles to contain a surge in COVID-19 infections.
As was the case during the initial lockdown restrictions in March 2020, only essential services such as hospitals, pharmacies and supermarkets will remain open.
However, these services will now operate between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.
The country has of late witnessed a high number of local infections amid fears that the second wave of the pandemic will be more deadly than the first.
As of Saturday, Zimbabwe recorded 14,491 cases and 377 deaths with about 1,400 infections reported this week.
The gatherings that have been banned include weddings and churches services, while bottle stores, gyms, and restaurants will once again be closed.
The maximum number of people who can attend funerals has been reduced to 30 from 100.
Addressing a press conference, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who is also minister of health and child care, said existing COVID-19 preventive health measures will be strictly enforced. Among these are the correct wearing of face masks, social distancing, hand sanitization and temperature checks.
He warned that offenders would be prosecuted.
Chiwenga said only key commerce services are allowed to operate such as mining, manufacturing and agriculture, while the rest of formal and informal businesses are suspended for 30 days with effect from Jan. 5.
Inter-provincial and inter-city transport services will also be restricted only to essential services and commercial services.
He said people must stay at home save for buying food and medicines and transporting sick relatives.