Bongani Ndlovu, Chronicle Reporter
GOVERNMENT has gazetted provisions of new lockdown measures stipulating that returning residents and visitors should foot their own bill during a mandatory 10-day “quarantine” or “self-isolation” whether they are Covid-19 negative or positive.
This gives effect to the address delivered by President Mnangagwa on Tuesday.
The President announced the new lockdown measures in response to credible, scientific reports of a new strain of Covid-19 virus which has been detected in a number of Sadc countries and elsewhere.
The new measures are contained in Statutory Instrument 119 of 2021 published on Wednesday.
According to Section 4 (1) (b) of SI 119 of 2021, any person entering Zimbabwe with proof of a valid PCR negative certificate shall self-quarantine or stay in a hotel at his or her own expense for a period of ten days from the date of arrival in the country.
The new regulations state that any person entering Zimbabwe without a valid PCR test and a certificate shall be denied entry into Zimbabwe.
“Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this order, for an indefinite period from the promulgation of this section, all persons entering Zimbabwe must undergo a valid Covid-19 PCR test not more than 48 hours from the time of their departure for Zimbabwe,” read the SI.
“A person entering Zimbabwe who does not have a valid PCR test and a certificate to that effect shall be denied entry into Zimbabwe; with proof of a valid PCR negative certificate shall self-quarantine or in a hotel at his or her own expense for a period of ten days from date of arrival in Zimbabwe.”
The SI says night clubs, bottle stores, restaurant (ordinary) liquor licensees, hotel liquor licensees and hotel (private) licensees must close at 7PM.
“The hours during which any business (other than any business that is or provides an essential service) may operate is the period between 7AM hours and 7PM.
For the avoidance of doubt, bottle stores, restaurants, licensed premises and night clubs are subject to these business hours.
Admission to restaurants, licensed premises and night clubs are restricted to customers and patrons who exhibit proof of full vaccination,” it says.
“Bottle stores may only operate during business hours, subject to the prohibition against drinking on the premises of the bottle store and to strict adherence with all measures in this Order with respect to the wearing of face masks, temperature checks, sanitising of hands and social distancing, for the purpose of verifying which any enforcement shall have unhindered access to any bottle store.”
Asked what will happen to those who do not have the funds to pay for their quarantine, National Covid-19 co-ordinator Dr Agnes Mahomva said the SI was “the law” and those who want to enter the country must abide by it.
“This is the law and people must follow the law and we must abide by it. If you for example want to come to the country without a PCR test, you won’t be admitted into Zimbabwe.
The SI specifically says you work with the Ministry Health and Child Care and the port health authorities who will tell you that you can go to that quarantine facility or not.
This will be based on whether they can approve the facility,” said Dr Mahomva.
In his address, the President said in view of the new development, Government has decided on new, enhanced measures to strengthen the country’s national response, and to protect the nation from the impact of a likely fourth wave, which the new variant, Omicron, will most certainly aggravate.
He said the new measures come against the backdrop of the comprehensive measures that Government has adopted in response to the continuing threat of the Covid-19 global pandemic.
President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe has done a lot to contain the pandemic, aided and guided by the World Health Organisation, whose guidelines Government continue to follow.
Zimbabwe has been making great strides to protect its citizens against the Covid-19 pandemic in one of the most successful inoculation programmes in Africa.
The country is targeting to inoculate a minimum of 10 million people to attain herd immunity.
Worldwide, the pandemic shows little signs of abating, with latest global trends and figures pointing to yet another wave, the fourth wave in our case.
As of Tuesday, Zimbabwe had recorded 134 625 confirmed cases, 128 747 recoveries and 4 707 deaths.
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