Zimbabwe extends lockdown by two weeks

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The President of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, has confirmed that the country’s lockdown will be extended for another two weeks (14 days), until 3 May.

In his statement, the President said:

21 days ago Zimbabwe began a national lockdown as part of our broad response to the deadly Coronavirus pandemic. Today, 2.3 million people have been infected globally, and the UN estimates that our continent could see between 300,000 and 3.3 million deaths from the pandemic.

In Zimbabwe, we have already seen 25 infections with three of our loved ones already dead. With more and more cases coming from local transitions, we are concerned they will begin to multiply at an alarming rate, as we have seen across the world.

We have therefore committed to doing all we can now, while we still have a window of opportunity, by tightening our collective national defences while preparing for a worst case scenario.

We are fully aware of the huge costs of the lockdown: To our economy, to people’s livelihoods, to families and to the joyful lives of our children. But we have chosen the path of responsibility, the path of caution. Nothing is more important than saving lives.

With our country not yet meeting the WHO conditions to lift the lockdown, we have therefore extended the lockdown by 14 days, until 3rd May. This is not an easy decision, but it is both necessary and unavoidable.

With the economic needs of the nation in mind, we have made certain adjustments in key areas: The mining sector will be allowed to scale up operations, while adhering to social distancing and other public health measures. In the manufacturing sector, including SMEs and the informal sector, limited operations will be resuming, again in line with WHO directives.

Of course, essential services will continue as before, and support schemes, including cash disbursements, have begun to be rolled out to vulnerable families across the country. We are also open to all suggestions and comments you may have, as we seek to make our response as effective and bearable as possible.

I thank you again for your self-discipline and cooperation over the past three weeks, which I trust will continue over the next two.

Together, we will defeat this pandemic.

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