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Level 4 lockdown necessary: President

President Mnangagwa delivers his end of year message last year in this file photo

Joseph Madzimure

Senior Reporter

PRESIDENT Mnangagwa has described the Level Four lockdown period, which began yesterday to stop the spread of Covid-19, as the final push towards the defeat of the deadly pandemic.

Zimbabwe announced a nationwide curfew from 6pm to 6am, banned gatherings, inter-city travel and ordered non-essential businesses to close for a month in an effort to curb a surge in coronavirus infections.

The President said it was necessary for the Government to impose this strict lockdown to curb the spread of the Covid-19 second wave.

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“Zimbabwe is entering a second lockdown to stop the spread of a Covid-19 second wave. Please, for the sake of your family and loved ones, avoid large gatherings and non-essential travel.

“This is the final push — let’s defeat this virus for good,” said President Mnangagwa on his official Twitter handle yesterday.

Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who is also the Minister of Health and Child Care, announced the strict lockdown regulations under Level Four, at the weekend.

Strict control of people’s movements started yesterday, with security forces mounting roadblocks and checkpoints countrywide.

The measures are seen as the best way of reining in the spike in infections.

Acting President Kembo Mohadi and Vice President Chiwenga announced the new guidelines whose strict enforcement started yesterday.

Zanu PF secretary for Administration Dr Obert Mpofu, who is a Covid-19 survivor, said there was no better time for the Government to rethink the reinforcement of Covid-19 restrictions considering the spread of the virus.

“Actually, this revisit to the pandemic arrest measures reflects our Government’s policy consistency in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.

“After being detained by Covid-19 to self-isolation, I would not want anyone to go through the same excruciating experience. Covid-19 is real. Each one of us stands to benefit a lot by ensuring that we avoid crowds and other Covid-19 hotspots such as densely-populated work spaces, food courts, bars and other places we had started frequenting after the relaxation of the Covid-19.”

He encouraged Zimbabweans to consider their safety before anything else.

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“The fresh lockdown measures dovetail with His Excellency, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s keen dedication for Zimbabwe to join the rest of the world in the war against Covid-19. This is even evidenced by swift establishment of a Covid-19 national taskforce in the infancy of the virus’ spread.

“The establishment of the National Covid-19 Response Department in the Office of the President and Cabinet also proves without doubt, Zimbabwe’s commitment to fight the pandemic to its knees,” said Dr Mpofu.

Although many small businesses enterprises will be affected by these measures, the country could not afford to have an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases, especially when health facilities were already overwhelmed.

“We are better off punishing our Covid-19 attracting habits and routines than making ourselves vulnerable to the virus.”

“We also need to think about the safety of our limited healthcare-givers who have patriotically put their lives on the line. We all have a duty to be responsible for our own safety even without the promulgated watch of the state.”

Permanent Secretary for Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Mr Nick Mangwana said that while there had been progressive easing of the lockdown since the introduction of tough Level Five on March 31 last year, it was necessary to return to more intense measures to contain the spike in infections.

Companies in the manufacturing, distribution, wholesale, retail, commerce, tourism and hospitality sectors were advised to make use of the lockdown exemption letters previously issued by Ministries of Industry and Commerce and of Environment, Tourism and Hospitality Industry for the next seven working days during which the companies were supposed to renew the letters

Enforcement of strict lockdown regulations under Level Four to curb the spread of Covid-19, started yesterday with central Harare having fewer people compared to the previous days as most businesses were closed.

Police mounted checkpoints on major roads leading into town and at most of them, it took up to an hour to pass, with security officers only permitting essential service providers while others were being turned back                    home.

HERALD

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