Zimbabwe

Heed COVID-19 lockdown call: ED

President Mnangagwa

BY MOSES MATENGA

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday took time off his annual leave to urge Zimbabweans to heed the COVID-19 lockdown measures announced by his lieutenant, Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga at the weekend which came into effect yesterday.

Mnangagwa is on his month-long annual leave and has been criticised for choosing to holiday in the middle of a severe COVID-19 crisis.

“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,” Mnangagwa said.

MDC Alliance leader Nelson Chamisa on Monday accused the government of “panic instead of planning” in imposing a harder lockdown without providing social safety nets for vulnerable communities.

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Nurses under the Zimbabwe Nurses Association banner said the situation in hospitals was indicating failure by the government to deal with the crisis, hence the need for a lockdown to avoid the health systems being overwhelmed.

The Vendors Initiative for Social and Economic transformation (Viset) said the informal sector was the hardest hit by the lockdown, blaming lack of planning and stakeholder consultation by the government.

Chiwenga, who is also Health minister, announced a strict lockdown on Sunday that will see only those classified as essential service providers allowed to travel to their workstations while the majority of citizens remain indoors.

Chiwenga also imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew among other measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Zimbabwe on Monday recorded 564 new infections and four deaths, bringing the total to 15 829 infections and 384 deaths.

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NEWSDAY