March 17, 2020

Zimbabwe declares Covid-19 national disaster

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Takudzwa Chihambakwe

ZIMBABWE has declared the Coronavirus pandemic a national disaster, with public events and public gatherings of more than 100 people being put on hold.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa this afternoon announced a host of measures that the Southern African country is putting in place to curb the spread of the virus in the event that it hits its shores.

Zimbabwe is yet to record a case of the virus.

Addressing the media at State house on Tuesday, the President announced that the country’s Independence celebrations and the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, both slated for Bulawayo next month, have been cancelled.

International sporting activities have also been put on hold.

President Mnangagwa also announced that the country was closing small ports of entry until further notice, while screening at major ports of entry will be scaled up. 

“Government has postponed the ZITF, all National Independence celebrations and pending all international sporting fixtures until the threat of the virus recedes. Resources originally earmarked for these events will be redirected towards strengthening defences against the virus and drought mitigation,” he said.

“The key challenge we all face is balancing effective measures that are necessary and have to be taken against the need to ensure our societies and economies continue to function optimally for the common, collective good. This is no easy balance.”

President Mnangagwa added that Government has decided to ban trips to and from highly affected countries.

“Travellers from high risk countries are encouraged to postpone their travel to Zimbabwe for the next 30 days, starting from March 20, 2020. Zimbabweans are discouraged from travelling to, through and from high risk countries during the same period,” he said.

All hospitals in the southern African country have since been placed on high alert for COVID-19.

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