Zimbabwe lockdown extended for two weeks

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced on Sunday that the country's lockdown has been extended by two weeks.
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced on Sunday that the country's lockdown has been extended by two weeks.
Image: REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

Zimbabwe’s Covid-19 lockdown has been extended by two weeks, ending on May 3.

Making the announcement on television, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said: “It has been a hard decision.”

He said the main objectives of the extension are to flatten the curve and to increase testing and Covid-19 recoveries to lessen the burden on the health sector.

“The country is yet to meet the conditions for the lifting of the lockdown which is when the transmission of the virus is fairly under control. Guided by these realities, government has decided to extend, with immediate effect, a national lockdown by a further 14 days, up to May 3, 2020,” Mnangagwa said.

After the extension, depending on the outcome, “government will announce any appropriate way forward”.

The Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) in its report on the Covid-19’s affect on the economy says 75% of informal jobs would be lost while 25% of mainstream employment will be cut during the lockdown.

“There is going to be loss of employment, 25% of formal jobs will be lost and 75% of casual/temporary jobs will be lost as businesses lay off workers given the sharp contractions in many sectors,” ZNCC said.

Zimbabwe is hard pressed for forex and government operations have been compromised because revenue collection has been greatly compromised.

The youngest Covid-19 positive person is a four-year-old and to date 2,626 tests and screening have been conducted. There have been three deaths, one recovery and 25 confirmed cases.

“We are deeply worried that the virus is beginning to attack our children with more and more cases being transmitted locally,” Mnangagwa said.

There were mixed feelings among Zimbabweans. Some fear they will die of hunger while others are of the view that the lockdown is necessary to save lives.

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