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Zimbabwe Shortens Coronavirus Curfew, Extends Business Hours


FILE - Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa delivers his State of the nation address at the opening session of parliament in Harare, Oct. 1, 2019.

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Zimbabwe has shortened an overnight curfew imposed to combat the coronavirus pandemic and extended business hours despite rising cases, the government said after a weekly cabinet meeting.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa last month announced a 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, but Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said this had left commuters stranded without transport.

The overnight curfew will now start at 8 p.m., while business hours will be extended to 4.30pm from 3 pm.

Zimbabwe has recorded 5,308 cases and 135 deaths.

Officials fear a wholesale removal of restrictions on movement would see a spike in infections and overwhelm a health sector that is collapsing due to strikes by workers and lack of medicines and protective clothing.

The government banned public taxis in March, but the state bus service is failing to cope, forcing commuters to queue well beyond curfew hours. (Reporting by Emma Rumney; Editing by Mark Potter)

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