The Zimbabwe government has extended a dusk-to-dawn curfew and other Level 4 restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic by two weeks, acting President Constantino Chiwenga said on Friday.Zimbabwe reintroduced stringent lockdown measures on January 5, which included restrictions on movement of persons and a curfew from 6pm (1600 GMT) to 6am.
Only essential services such as hospitals, pharmacies and supermarkets are to remain open.
Chiwenga said in Harare on Friday that the decision to extend the restrictions was taken in light of a recent spike in new infections and deaths due to COVID-19 complications.
“Even though the numbers we are losing to the pandemic are falling, we bemoan the fact that Zimbabweans are dying at all. Any death is one death too many,” the acting president said.
He called on Zimbabweans “to stay the course by upping our vigilance.”
“The war is not yet won,” he said, adding that the government was investigating the “likelihood of new strains and variants circulating” in the country.
“We are doing genomic sequencing to see if these strains are in our environment. Results will be published as soon as we have them.”
Zimbabwe has recently experienced a surge in new COVID-19 cases, new cases averaging 300 per day during the past week alone. Deaths have averaged 20 per day, according to Chiwenga who is also Zimbabwe’s health minister.
Cumulative cases have risen from 14,084 on January 1 to 32,646 as of January 28, with total fatalities rising from 369 at the beginning of the year to 1,160 by Thursday this week.