Coronavirus: Zimbabwe begins 21-day 'total' lockdown

accreditation
Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association president Tawanda Zvakada (R) and association treasurer Tapiwa Mungofa (L) addressing the media during a press conference at the Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare, where they vowed to boycott work unless the government provides protective gear to combat the coronavirus (Covid-19).
Zimbabwe Hospital Doctors Association president Tawanda Zvakada (R) and association treasurer Tapiwa Mungofa (L) addressing the media during a press conference at the Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare, where they vowed to boycott work unless the government provides protective gear to combat the coronavirus (Covid-19).
File, AFP

Harare – Zimbabwean authorities on Monday began enforcing a three-week lockdown in its fight against the spread of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) after the disease left one person dead and infected six others.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa declared a 21-day "total" lockdown from Monday curtailing movement within the country, shutting most shops and suspending flights in and out of Zimbabwe.

Police mounted checkpoints on routes leading to Harare's central business district, stopping cars and turning away pedestrians who had no authorisation to be in the area.

READ | Zimbabweans fear 'starving in their own homes' as 21-day coronavirus lockdown looms

Elsewhere, truckloads of metropolitan and national police armed with batons were on patrol, ordering people back to their homes.

"We don't want to see people here on the streets. We don't want to see people who have no business in town just loitering," a police officer said through a loud hailer. "Everyone to their homes."

Her colleagues, in riot gear, dispersed people standing in small groups at the Copacabana minibus terminus, which is usually abuzz with people, including foreign currency dealers.

WATCH: 


'I can't afford to feed my family'

In the township of Mbare, the usually bustling terminus for long-distance buses was deserted with only municipal street cleaners sweeping the empty bus ranks.

A traditionally busy downtown area of Harare referred to as "The Third World" resembled a ghost town with few people on the streets. Most shops had their shutters down.

For many of the country's 16 million people, who are already suffering a grim economic recession, the lockdown means even tougher hardship.

READ | Virus fears prompt Zimbabwe to let citizens pay in US dollars

With the unemployment rate estimated at around 90%, most Zimbabweans have informal jobs to eke out a living and few have substantial savings.

Some were trying to leave the city for rural villages.

"We would rather spend the 21 days at our rural home, where we don't have to buy everything. I can't afford to feed my family here when I am not working," said Most Jawure.

"We have been waiting here for more than two hours but there are no buses," Jawure told AFP while standing with his wife and daughter beside a bulging suitcase.

WATCH: 


Stay up to date and stay healthy. Subscribe to Health24’s Daily Dose newsletter for important updates on the spread of the coronavirus. Register and manage your newsletters in the new News24 app by clicking on the Profile tab


We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
Children between 12 and 17 can now be vaccinated against Covid-19. As a parent I am:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Relieved, it's been a long wait to this point
51% - 1803 votes
A bit hesitant, and will wait to see how it goes
22% - 777 votes
Completely against my child getting the shot
28% - 986 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
14.68
+0.2%
Rand - Pound
20.25
+0.2%
Rand - Euro
17.07
+0.2%
Rand - Aus dollar
10.96
+0.1%
Rand - Yen
0.13
+0.3%
Gold
1,786.73
+0.2%
Silver
24.18
+0.1%
Palladium
2,042.00
+1.2%
Platinum
1,057.06
+0.4%
Brent-ruolie
84.61
-1.4%
Top 40
59,535
0.0%
All Share
66,058
0.0%
Resource 10
61,431
0.0%
Industrial 25
85,433
0.0%
Financial 15
13,820
0.0%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE