The Zimbabwe government has reduced the number of hours of a coronavirus curfew in response to concerns that the previous arrangement was seriously inconveniencing commuters who use public transport.Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s cabinet had agreed at its weekly meeting on Tuesday that the curfew, which has been in place since July 21, should now run from 8pm (1800 GMT) to 6am the following morning.
The curfew has until now been effective from 6pm to 6am.
Mutsvangwa said the changes were made “having noted the plight of the public and the need to lessen the risk of contracting COVID-19”.
As part of COVID-19 regulations, the government has banned most forms of public transport, with only the state-run Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) allowed to ferry passengers.
However, due to operational limitations, ZUPCO has not been able to clear all commuters in time for the overnight curfew, exposing the travelers to risks of contracting COVID-19 as they are forced to use trucks in order to get home before 6pm.
Mutsvangwa revealed that the cabinet has also extended business hours from 8am-3pm to 8am-4.30 pm.
The relaxation of the curfew conditions and extension of business hours comes as the number of COVID-19 cases in Zimbabwe has surpassed 5,300, with 135 deaths.