There is uncertainty over Zimbabwe’s 21-day nationwide lockdown to help curb the spread of coronavirus COVID-19 amid reports that it may be extended.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa told stakeholders in Harare on Thursday that his government has not yet made a decision on extending the lockdown.
According to the state controlled Herald newspaper, Mnangagwa said, “I cannot tell you whether at the end of 21 days we will extend the lockdown or not. Let's observe lockdown measures and prevent the spread of the virus.”
Zimbabwe’s lockdown started on March 30th and is expected to end on April 19th. The country has so far registered three deaths of 11 people that have tested positive for coronavirus. Critics say the government is not doing enough in conducting the lockdown and testing people for COVID-19. But the government says it is trying by all means to address people’s concerns.
At the same time, the president also told the stakeholders in Harare who included doctors, nurses, legal practitioners, engineers, pharmacists, funeral assurance representatives and others, that the government is set to deploy soldiers during the Easter holidays in an attempt to enforce stay-home regulations.
He is quoted by the Herald newspaper as saying Zimbabweans should follow lockdown procedures as they observe the Easter holidays.
“Security is going to increase patrols to monitor compliance. There is hope. This situation will not last forever but in the mean time we must be responsible … Families and churches used to gather during Easter but this will not be the same this time as we continue to observe the essential lockdown to contain Covid19. Don't despair.”
Figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University indicate that 1,447.400 people have contracted coronavirus COVID-19 in different nations, with over 363,000 of those people in USA. The virus has killed almost 92,000 people since its outbreak in Kenya last year. An estimated 344,467 people have recovered.
Meanwhile, in a tweet, the Zimbabwean government said it is investigating the death of a Chiredzi woman said to have succumbed to COVID-19.