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Zimbabwe Extends COVID-19 Lockdown Amid Fears of New Coronavirus Strains

Zimbabwe's Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga (Photo by Jekesai NJIKIZANA / AFP)
Zimbabwe's Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga (Photo by Jekesai NJIKIZANA / AFP)

Zimbabwe has extended its COVID-19 lockdown by two weeks following the recent surge in coronavirus cases in the country.

In an address to the nation broadcast by the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and monitored from Washington, Acting President Constantino Chiwenga, who is also the Minister of Health, said the extension of the lockdown is expected to contain the spread of the deadly disease that has killed 1,103 people in the country.

Chiwenga said the lockdown is expected to end on February 15 amid concerns of the spreading of new COVID-19 strains and variants.

He said the president fully understands that livelihoods are being disrupted by the lockdown but “we must not lose the momentum” of stopping the spread of the disease.

The lockdown declared a few weeks ago was expected to end in two days in Zimbabwe.

Twenty eight people died of COVID-19 in the country on Thursday and 358 tested positive for coronavirus.

The southern African nation has so far recorded 32,000 cases with 23,413 recoveries and 1,103 deaths.

According to Johns Hopkins University, over 100 million people worldwide have contracted COVID-19 and more than 2 million have died.