Lockdown extension under consideration Prof Murwira

Mukudzei Chingwere Herald Reporter

THE country is expected to make final deliberations next week on the extension, or degree of extension, of the level four national lockdown put in place by Government early this month.

Health experts are recommending the extension of strict movement controls following a surge in Covid-19-related deaths during January and while infection and death rates are now starting to ease as Zimbabwe brings the spike under control, they are still far higher than at the beginning of the month.

By Wednesday night the total number of deaths had reached 1122, but almost two thirds were in the second wave with less than 400 in total in the 10 months, prior to the second wave.

The 30-day lockdown ends next week, and the Ad-Hoc Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on Covid-19 will deliberate on the possible extension of level four.

Vice Chairman of the Taskforce Professor Amon Murwira yesterday said the lockdown extension “will be considered”.

“The efforts of Zimbabweans should be thanked because the lockdown is holding. The cases are going down but we have to hold on, and we want to thank all our health workers and security personnel for an excellent job.

“We believe we will win this war. We will have a meeting (on the lockdown) and we will consider,” said Minister Murwira. The Taskforce usually holds its meetings on Mondays.

In a statement yesterday, Acting Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister, Dr Jenfan Muswere, thanked stakeholders for disseminating information about Covid-19.

“Government is grateful for the continued support from various stakeholders who are rendering support in the information dissemination field. An informed nation results in an empowered people.

“Various developmental partners across the country have been assisting in various ways in the production of Covid-19 materials and this is commendable,” said Minister Muswere.

He praised health workers and frontline staff for their efforts in combating the pandemic.

“Those who work in the Red Zones which deal with the care of Covid-19 patients are surely our heroes and heroines as we continue to fight this deadly disease. “Our Government is committed to the eradication of Covid-19 and we are hopeful that we will succeed,” he said.

Police yesterday said they have strengthened enforcement to ensure that entities and institutions classified as essential service providers and those who are exempted operate according to the law. Their staff are the only people expected to be on the roads besides those seeking medical care and other emergency requirements

In a statement yesterday, national police spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said: “The police are also dealing with the proliferation of fake Covid-19 exemption letters and implore the public to stick to the restrictions outlined in Statutory Instrument 10/2021 without taking shortcuts.”

On Wednesday, police arrested 3 185 people for contravening Covid-19 regulations throughout the country. Of these 917 were arrested for not wearing face masks and 1 752 for unnecessary movements.

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