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Zimbabwe Extends Coronavirus Lockdown

President Emmerson Mnangagwa

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has extended the country’s lockdown to fight coronavirus COVID-19 by two weeks saying some companies will partially open next Monday.

In a televised message on the state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, Mnangagwa also announced a ZWL$18 billion economic rescur and stimulus package, which he said was designed to scale up production in all sectors.

He said, “The package is proportionate to the disruption the virus has caused to the national economy.”

Mnangagwa noted that the government has introduced a ZWL$2.4 billion food grant for 2020 and at the same time health workers and institutions will be granted an income tax break for six months.

The Zimbabwean president did not indicate where the country with a shuttered economy is expected to get the funds.

He urged all citizens to wear masks, including home-made ones, when visiting different public places.

At the same time he said the informal sector, which has the largest number of people said to be struggling to make ends meet, remains closed, except for agriculture and food supply chains.

He said commuter omnibuses remain banned as people are expected to use public transport companies for travelling.

“Churches, bars, gyms & recreational facilities remain closed and gatherings of more than 50 people remain prohibited. Mandatory quarantine protocols for returning residents remain (21 days).

The country has so far recorded 40 cases of people that have tested positive for coronavirus. Four have died while five are said to have recovered. Almost 9,000 people have been tested nationally for the contagious disease.

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