President Emmerson Mnangagwa says Zimbabwe will be under a 21-day lockdown starting Monday in an attempt to stop the transmission of the coronavirus COVID-19 that has killed thousands of people in the world.
In a State of the Nation Address delivered on the state-controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation on Friday evening, Mnangagwa said these drastic measures will hurt a lot of people and businesses.
“As you are aware we lost one of our citizens to the virus, a bright and promising young man who today personifies the tragedy brought by this virus and what can happen to our hopes and policies for the future in the absence of due diligence. While our numbers are both low … this need not induce complacency among us. COVID-19 is now upon us and if experience elsewhere is anything to go by can spread in leaps and bounds in so short a time.
“We are worried that even as our numbers remain low there is possibility of wider community spread and transmissions. Further, in about two months time winter will be upon us creating conditions ideal for more infections. There is need to take decisive measures now against the pandemic well ahead of the likely danger. I have indicated that some of the measures will be drastic and are sure to upset the daily routines of our lives as we have lived it until now. But they have to be taken with the new restrictive routines internalized by all of us regardless of position in society.”
He noted that the virus knows no class color, creed, tribe or region.
Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe’s COVID-19 pandemic task force has made several recommendations after assessing the situation in the country with indications that many people may be infected by the disease if no drastic measures were taken to avert a health crisis in the southern African nation where at least five people have contracted the disease.
“Starting Monday 30th March, 2020, and subject to further review, Zimbabwe will be under a total lockdown for a period of 21 days. This means all our citizens are required to stay at home except of course in respect of essential movements related to seeking health services, to the purchase of procurement of food, medicines and for other essential supplies in terms of critical services …”
At least one person has been killed by coronavirus COVID-19 in Zimbabwe.