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Zimbabwe reverts to tighter lockdown measures amid COVID-19 surge

The Zimbabwe government has banned all movements as part of stringent lockdown measures to contain a surge in COVID-19 infections.Announcing…

The Zimbabwe government has banned all movements as part of stringent lockdown measures to contain a surge in COVID-19 infections.Announcing the new measures on Tuesday night, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said only those employed in critical sectors of the economy would be allowed to move, as well as those seeking essential services such as medical treatment or to buy food would be allowed to move.

Only essential services are to remain open such as hospitals, pharmacies, supermarkets and telecommunication companies. 

In addition, key sectors such as mining, manufacturing and agriculture are allowed to operate.

Essential service workers would be required to carry exemption letters issued by their employers, the minister said.

“The nation is advised that the exemption mechanisms which were used during the first lockdown in 2020 will be reactivated with immediate effect,” Mutsvangwa told a post-cabinet media briefing.

She revealed that Zimbabwe has experienced a 107-percent increase in COVID-19 infections over the past week, a development that calls for more stringent measures to contain the spread of the virus.

There were 1,949 new COVID-19 cases and 28 deaths on Tuesday, bringing the cumulative totals to 57,963 infections and 1,939 fatalities since April 2020.

The latest move comes a week after President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced a dusk-to-dawn curfew on June 29 and ordered businesses to operate between 8am (0600 GMT) and 3.30pm.

Public gatherings such as weddings and parties are banned, while the number of people at funerals is limited to 30.

Mutsvangwa warned that stiffer penalties would be imposed for violations of the latest COVID-19 restrictions, including the withdrawal of business operating licences.

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