Zim lifts major Covid-19 restrictions

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Harare, (New Ziana) – As Covid-19 cases recede, Zimbabwe on Monday lifted most of its strict Covid-19 restrictions, and re-opened a large part of the economy which had been shut as part of measures to limit the spread of the pandemic.

On Sunday, the country recorded a second consecutive day of zero Covid-19 deaths, prompting Monday’s review of the nation’s lockdown regime.

In an address to the nation, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said both infections and deaths had been declining in recent weeks, necessitating the review of the lockdown by government.

The country has recorded 36 089 cases and 1 463 deaths since March last year when the first case was recorded.

“On the 15th of February 2021, I extended the national lockdown by a further two weeks, as we come to the expiry of that period, it is noteworthy that the number of Covid-19 positive cases, fatalities and hospitalisations continue to steadily decrease,” he said.

“We must however remain alert and on guard to maintain this positive momentum attained so far.”

New conditions that apply include free movement of citizens without letters, even across cities and districts, an adjustment of curfew time to 10PM to 05:30AM and business hours up to 19:00 from 17:00.

Small to medium enterprises, the informal sector and food markets were allowed to re-open on condition the meet set strict health conditions.

Funerals remain limited to 30 people while other social events are limited to 50.

“Restaurants can open only for takeaways and deliveries, no sit ins. Beer halls, bars, nightclubs, gymnasiums remain closed. Bottle-stores must strictly operate takeaways as required by the law,” President Mnangagwa said.

President Mnangagwa said the Covid-19 vaccination programme, which started 10 days ago was going on well, with positive uptake from the targeted frontline workers.

“More vaccines are coming and people will have the opportunity to be vaccinated,” he said.

At least two million more vaccine doses are expected from China, while Russia, India and the United Kingdom have pledged to donate more.

“The dissemination of factual information on the efficacy of the vaccines will be increased across all media platforms,” President Mnangagwa said, addressing concerns by some on how safe and effective the vaccines were.

President Mnangagwa reiterated that vaccination was voluntary and free.

Private companies were free to import the vaccines for their workers, he said, but this would be done at no cost to the employees.

“Government will not allow any form of profiteering from the vaccination programme,” he said.

President Mnangagwa said citizens must continue to adhere to set World Health Organisation standards to prevent the spread of Covid-19 through masking up, social distancing and sanitising among others to avoid a spike in new cases.
New Ziana

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