Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
CITIZENS no longer need exemption letters for movement while intercity travel is now permissible with businesses including the informal sector allowed to operate up to 7PM after Government relaxed Level Four lockdown regulations.
The curfew, which previously ran from 8PM to 5.30AM has been adjusted and will now be from 10PM to 5.30AM.
Under the Level Four lockdown regulations, gatherings at funerals are still restricted to 30 people and public gatherings shall not exceed 50 people.
Beerhalls, bars, night clubs and gymnasiums will remain closed while restaurants and bottle stores must strictly operate takeaways.
Entities that fail to comply will attract targeted closures.
President Mnangagwa made the announcement in an address to the nation at State House in Harare yesterday.
He warned citizens against complacency despite a decline in Covid-19 cases, saying there is need to continue adhering to the health regulations.
“On the 15th of February, I extended the national lockdown by a further two weeks. As we come to the expiry of that period, it is noteworthy that the number of Covid-19 positive cases, fatalities and hospitalisation continue to steadily decrease. We must however, remain alert and on guard to maintain this positive momentum attained so far,” he said.
The country did not record any Covid-19 related deaths in the last 48 hours with 31 new cases recorded on Sunday.
According to the Ministry of Health and Child Care 3 138 frontline workers were vaccinated on Sunday bringing the cumulative number to 18 843 countrywide.
The President said schools, universities and colleges must also prepare to reopen and ensure that measures which observe World Health Organisation (WHO) protocols and national Covid-19 guidelines are adhered to.
“Going forward the following review is made to previously announced lockdown measures and that is the wearing of face masks, temperature checks as well as washing of hands or use of sanitisers in all public areas remains mandatory. The curfew is adjusted and will now be from 10PM to 5.30 in the morning. Letters are no longer required for movement, and supermarkets can now remain open up to 7PM to reduce congestion and must enforce social distancing within their premises.”
President Mnangagwa said industry should open with strict adherence to WHO set standards and national Covid-19 guidelines.
“The regular disinfection of premises, social distancing, hand sanitisation and use of body temperature checks at entrances will continue. Non-compliance in this regard will attract targeted closures of such entities,” he said.
“As per the previous announcement SMEs, food markets and informal sector can reopen on condition that they strictly adhere to WHO set standards and national Covid-19 guidelines.”
The President said a Statutory Instrument will outline in detail the new lockdown measures.
He also thanked China for the additional donation of 200 000 doses of vaccines made last week bringing to 400 000 the total number of Covid-19 vaccines donated by the Asian giant so far.
“On behalf of the Government and the people of Zimbabwe I once against express my profound gratitude to the President of the People’s Republic of China, His Excellency Xi Jinping and the Government and people of China for the additional donation of 200 000 doses of vaccines made to Zimbabwe just last week,” he said.
“This generous gift will greatly contribute to our quest to achieve herd immunity. Over and above the total of 400 000 donated doses another 600 000 doses of Chinese vaccine will be arriving in the coming weeks. A further 1,2 million doses have also been availed by Chinese companies for Zimbabwe.”
The President also expressed gratitude to Russia, India, the United Kingdom who have also pledged donations of various vaccines.
He said local private entities and organisations who want to procure vaccines for their staff members can do so but must be prepared to distribute the vaccines for free.
“Government will not allow any form of profiteering from the vaccination programme. As the above vaccination programme is underway let us continue to minimise the risks of spikes in the number of cases by adhering to the WHO public health protocols and additional preventive measures announced by the Government from time to time,” said President Mnangagwa. — @mashnets