The Zimbabwe Government has extended the country’s level 4 lockdown by two weeks to help contain the spread of Covid-19.
The national lockdown, introduced in early January 2021, was due to end on February 5. Extension means all activities designated “non-essential” are still suspended and a 6pm-to-6am curfew remains in force.
On January 28, Zimbabwe recorded a cumulative 32 646 Covid-19 cases, including 1 160 deaths. Though recoveries are climbing, authorities are wary of “new strains and variants circulating”.
Acting President Constantino Chiwenga announced in the capital, Harare, on Friday: “His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe Dr ED Mnangagwa has decided to extend the level 4 National Lockdown by another two weeks to the 15th of February 2021.
“The President fully appreciates the difficulties which come with this extension.”
The Acting President, who is also Health Minister, said: “We have a likelihood of new strains and variants circulating. These strains are more transmissible and infectious. We are doing genomic sequencing to see if these strains are in our environment and results will be published as soon as we have them.
“Government will soon be bringing in vaccines against Covid-19. A rollout plan and deployment strategy is being finalised and the nation will be kept informed on all these developments.”
Zimbabwe initially went on lockdown in March 2020 after detecting its first Covid-19 case. The disease has spread since, particularly between December 2020 and January 2021.
Official statistics released on Thursday show that 200 patients are hospitalised; 13 of them in critical condition.
Testing has intensified countrywide while law enforcement is actively on lockdown compliance.
Health officials indicated early in the week that Zimbabwe will likely purchase vaccines from China and Russia.