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Mnangagwa Forced to Close Schools Amid Fears of Coronavirus Outbreak

President Emmerson Mnangagwa

Pressure groups have forced the Zimbabwean government to close schools next week following fears of an outbreak of coronavirus in the southern African nation currently facing serious economic problems.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who announced strict measures on Wednesday designed to curb a coronavirus outbreak - which included tight restrictions on public meetings like church gatherings, weddings and others - made a u-turn Wednesday saying Zimbabweans are not happy with the opening of the schools until the end of the current term.

In a statement, he said, “Following concerns from parents, as well representations by the educational sector, Government has decided that all schools and tertiary institutions (colleges, polytechnics and universities) will now close on Tuesday, 24 March, 2020, as a precaution against the outbreak and spread of Coronavirus.

“While Zimbabwe has not recorded any cases of the virus to date, Government has thought it prudent to be on the side of caution, more so in respect of teaching institutions where human concentration and contact is expectedly high. The decision is part of the general precautionary measures the country is taking in light of the worldwide outbreak and rapid spread of the Coronavirus.”

He noted that government government “will advise on dates for the reopening of all teaching institutions in the country once the threat of the virus is adjudged to have receded.”

Zimbabwe has not yet recorded any cases of coronavirus which has killed thousands of people in some countries.

Teachers’ unions said schools should have been closed as soon as there were signs that the coronavirus is spreading in several nations.

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