Zimbabwe extends coronavirus lockdown 'indefinitely'

accreditation

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has extended a nationwide lockdown meant to control the spread of coronavirus, though the restrictions will be reviewed every two weeks.

LIVE | All the latest coronavirus and lockdown updates

In a live broadcast on Saturday, Mnangagwa said the measure would remain in place "for an indefinite period", adding that "the country needs to ease out of the lockdown in a strategic and gradual manner".

He said informal street markets, where millions of Zimbabweans make a living, would remain shut while the government consulted health specialists on how to reopen them safely.

But businesses such as manufacturers, supermarkets and banks, which have been allowed to continue operating, will see their operating hours extended from a maximum of six hours to more than eight hours between 08:00 (06:00 GMT) and 16:30 (14:30 GMT).

Mnangagwa said the hundreds of Zimbabwean migrants returning home every week, mainly from South Africa and Botswana, will have to undergo a 21-day quarantine in school and college buildings set aside for the purpose.

The president said only students writing final examinations this year would be allowed to resume classes, but did not say when. The government is still working on plans to reopen schools in phases.

The drastic restrictions have so far borne fruit as coronavirus transmission has not been widespread and numbers remain lower than the initial projections, Mnangagwa said.

Zimbabwe imposed its lockdown on 30 March and has recorded 44 confirmed coronavirus cases and four related deaths.

Mnangagwa said the World Health Organisation had classified coronavirus transmission in Zimbabwe as "sporadic", with a low number of cases and no discernible clusters.

"This may suggest that, despite the small numbers tested, our country might have a reduced Covid-19 trajectory," he said.

Doctors and experts have warned that Zimbabwe's poorly equipped health service could not cope with a severe coronavirus outbreak.

- Stay healthy and entertained during the national lockdown. Sign up for our Lockdown Living newsletter. 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 14 free days, you can 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. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
What are your thoughts on the possibility of having permanent Stage 2 or 3 load shedding?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
I'll take that over constant schedule changes
13% - 1159 votes
Why are we normalising Eskom’s mess?
72% - 6496 votes
I've already found alternative ways of powering my home/business
15% - 1367 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
17.03
+2.1%
Rand - Pound
21.06
+1.8%
Rand - Euro
18.72
+1.0%
Rand - Aus dollar
12.16
+1.0%
Rand - Yen
0.13
+1.2%
Platinum
1,004.13
-0.8%
Palladium
1,669.69
+1.3%
Gold
1,949.52
+1.1%
Silver
24.00
+1.1%
Brent Crude
85.46
+1.1%
Top 40
73,723
+0.4%
All Share
79,817
+0.4%
Resource 10
75,130
-0.9%
Industrial 25
102,508
+0.2%
Financial 15
16,555
+2.5%
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