Harare (New Ziana)-There will be no gatherings to mark both Heroes and Defence Forces holidays due to Covid-19, a Cabinet Minister said on Tuesday.
Traditionally, the days are marked by huge gatherings at the National Heroes Acre and provincial shrines across the country while on Defence Forces day; members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces entertain crowds with coordinated mass displays.
The suspension of Heroes and Defence Forces festivities mirrors Independence celebrations in April which were low key due to the pandemic.
Addressing a post Cabinet media briefing, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said commemorations to mark the two holidays would be held virtually.
“July Moyo, the minister of Local Government and Public Works,as the Acting Chairman of the Cabinet Committee on State Occasions, briefed Cabinet on the suspension of gatherings.
“2020 Heroes Day Commemorations and the Defence Forces Day Celebrations. There will be no gatherings this year to mark both events. His Excellency, the President will address the nation using virtual platforms.
“The 2020 Heroes Day Commemorations will be held under the theme “REMEMBERING OUR HEROES” on 10th August, the Defence Forces Day Celebrations will be held on 11th August, 2020 under the theme “ZDF: CELEBRATING 40 YEARS OF EXCELLENT SERVICE TO THE PEOPLE,” she said.
Mutsvangwa added: “The Virtual celebrations will take place over a period of two (2) weeks and covered by the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Services (ZBC)-TV, which will extensively feature the Zimbabwe Defence Force’s exploits, community assistance projects and the Defence Forces Medical Outreach Programme.”
To date, Zimbabwe has 2 704 confirmed COVID-19 cases, a 68 percent increase from 1 713 cases reported on 20 July, 2020.
The total number of COVID-19 fatalities has also increased to 36 from the 26 reported last week.
Due to the spike in locally transmitted Covid-19 cases which has increased by 112 percent from 791 to 1 675 during the past week, Mutsvangwa said government will hold some meetings virtually to limit spread of the disease among officials.
“In order to curb the further spread of the disease among Government officials, the holding of meetings by virtual means will be enhanced. At universities and colleges, face-to-face classes have been suspended and lessons will be carried out online.
“Those who had started writing examinations will be allowed to complete them, while those who had not started their examinations will have them deferred,” said Mutsvangwa.