Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
ALL travellers entering Zimbabwe will now have to undergo polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test for Covid-19 at all ports of entry and a mandatory quarantine at their own cost while the daily curfew now runs from 9PM to 6AM.
Initially the curfew hours ran from 10PM-6AM.
Business hours have been reviewed with shops now opening at 7AM and closing at 7PM.
All Covid-19 related funerals will strictly be supervised by Ministry of Health and Child Care environmental health officers and technicians while the number and behaviour of all persons attending any gathering must observe and comply with World Health Organisation (WHO) protocols.
No liquor will be consumed at bottle stores until further notice while nightclubs and bars will admit vaccinated clients only.
Restaurants are required to close at 7PM.
President Mnangagwa announced the new measures last night in a televised address to the nation.
The address was in response to credible, scientific reports of a new strain of Covid-19 virus which has been detected and reported in the Sadc region.
“It is in view of this new development, Government has decided on new, enhanced measures to strengthen our national response, and to protect our nation from impact of a likely fourth wave, which the new variant, Omicron, will most certainly aggravate,” said President Mnangagwa.
“With immediate effect, all returning residents and visitors have to undergo PCR testing, and will be quarantined, at own cost, for days recommended by WHO, even if they present negative PCR test results from elsewhere.”
President Mnangagwa 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.
“Worldwide, the pandemic shows little signs of abetting, with latest global trends and figures pointing to yet another wave, the fourth wave in our case. By yesterday, Monday, over 260 million cumulative cases of infections had been reported worldwide. Grimly, over five million souls have perished globally since the outbreak of the pandemic in 2019,” he said.
As of Monday, Zimbabwe had recorded a cumulative total of 133 991 cases of infection, and some 4 705 cumulative deaths since the onset of the pandemic in the country in March last year.
“Our nation has done a lot to contain the pandemic, aided and guided by the World Health Organisation, whose guidelines we continue to follow. We have recorded notable successes, certainly fared better than most in our region, on our African continent, and in the world,” said President Mnangagwa.
“What raises our concern, and adds to our anxieties, is the outbreak of a new strain – Omicron – detected and reported in neighbouring countries only a few days ago.
We face a new, added risk, which compounds the burden we already face and shoulder from known variants we have been grappling since the outbreak of the pandemic.” – @mashnets.