Harare, (New Ziana) – President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Tuesday declared a 12-hour dusk to dawn curfew among a host of new stricter lockdown measures effective July 22 to check the spread of the pandemic.
In a State of the Nation address, President Mnangagwa said the country had continued to record a surge in infections, now driven by local transmission which necessitated the imposition of stricter measures and suspension of freedoms.
As at Monday, the country had a total of 1 713 cases, 26 deaths and 472 recoveries. The hike in infections and deaths was despite the fact that the country was already under a lockdown, which has since end of April been gradually eased to allow the economy to function.
“The urgent and necessary measures will entail curtailing the freedoms we have always enjoyed and had grown accustomed to. From now on, these freedoms stand suspended and deferred in the interest of all of us, in the interest of our children and nation which must survive, thrive and prosper beyond this pandemic,” President Mnangagwa said.
“No responsible government places its citizens in harm’s way, hence my government will do all it can to preserve and protect the right to life.”
Effective Wednesday and further notice, security forces will effect a 6AM to 6PM curfew from which only essential service providers are exempt, the Head of State said.
President Mnangagwa, who urged Zimbabweans to unreservedly follow the measures, said non-working citizens will be expected to stay at home and will only be allowed to leave for purposes of securing food, water and health services.
Food markets will remain operational, he said, but should observe set health standards.
Businesses, which had been allowed to operate till 4:30PM, will now be expected to close at 3PM, except for essential services.
President Mnangagwa said public gatherings for any purposes including social, religious and political were outlawed while intercity travel remains banned.
“All approved buses and vehicles for public transport should ensure and enforce public health standards including the screening of passengers before boarding and the disinfecting of all vehicles after each round trip,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said desertion from quarantine centres, a practise that had become rampant, will now be considered a punishable criminal act as it exposed innocent people to Covid-19.
“Anyone who knowingly exposes, aides, abates or infects innocent persons whether by breaching conditions of isolations or by encouraging action which undermine public health measures which government has announced and undertaken will be liable and will ve severely punished accordingly,” he said.