Covid-19 curfew scrapped . . . business hours extended

ZIMBABWE has scrapped the midnight to dawn curfew and extended operating hours of players in the hospitality sector as the country has made significant progress in the containment of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since the country was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, Zimbabwe has implemented a raft of measures to curb the spread of the global pestilence and has made huge strides in the reduction of infections — due to the bold and timely interventions by President Mnangagwa.

At some point the country observed dawn to dusk curfews, while travel to work was limited to only essential workers.

However, the roll-out of a phased Covid-19 vaccination programme and strict adherence to World Health Organisations (WHO) protocols such as wearing of face masks, washing hands and observing social distancing, have seen the country beating back the plague.

Presently, Zimbabwe has a national vaccination coverage of 55.7 percent, as a total of 6 264 867 first doses of the Covid-19 vaccine have been administered, while 4 602 713 people have received their second dose, and 856 440 their third dose.

With progress having been made especially during winter, a period that in preceding years had high incidences of infections, Cabinet yesterday said some preventive measures are being lifted.

Acting Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Jenfan Muswere announced the policy change at yesterday’s post-Cabinet briefing.

“Cabinet resolved to relax some Covid-19 measures and regulations as follows: business hours for the hospitality industry be extended to now cover the period 8am to 3am the following day. Enforcement of Covid-19 regulations must continue, (but) the curfew which is currently running from 12 midnight to 0530 hours has been lifted.”

Minister Muswere said implementation of all Covid-19 public health and social measures must continue to be strengthened. He said the decision to lift some of the restrictions was necessitated by the fact that “the number of new Covid-19 cases continued to decrease”.

Minister Muswere said from the previous week under review, “no patients were admitted to the intensive care unit”.

“This indicates that the Covid-19 pandemic remains under control, as it has been for some months now.”

As at June 20, Zimbabwe’s cumulative Covid-19 cases stood at 254 919, with 247 649 recoveries, the recovery rate translating to 97 percent.

Despite the relaxation of other containment measures, the implementation of public health measures will be strengthened and enforced as per Cabinet directive.

Part of the reasoning behind abolishing movements at night was to minimise social contact during the hours with minimum authority supervision.

Zimbabwe has won international plaudits for its thorough and comprehensive response to the global pandemic, minimising its effects on the citizenry.

Even rabid critics marvelled at the country’s response mechanism which included a Treasury-funded Covid-19 vaccination programme.

“Regarding the national vaccination programme, Cabinet wishes to inform the nation that as at June 20, 2022, a total of 6 264 867 first doses of the Covid-19 vaccine had been administered, while 4 602 713 people had received their second dose, and 856 440 their third dose,” said Minister Muswere.

“Cabinet calls upon all citizens that have not been vaccinated to present themselves for vaccination at centres nearest to them.”

Meanwhile, Cabinet has received a Report on the 12th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation held in Geneva, Switzerland, from June 12 to 15.

Minister Muswere said ministers deliberated on critical issues affecting the multilateral trading system including the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, food insecurity, disruption of global energy and agricultural input supply chains and the current geo-political tensions, among others.

He said in their declaration, they agreed that members should not impose export prohibitions on foodstuffs purchased for non-commercial humanitarian purposes.

Also, Cabinet considered and approved the two investment projects recommended by the Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency (ZIDA).

The projects are a proposed Partnership between Government and Scout Aerial Africa (Pvt) Limited for Aero-magnetic Survey on Shackleton Tenements, and proposed Partnership between Government and Zimbabwe Merchantile Exchange (Pvt) Limited on the Establishment of the Zimbabwe Commodities Exchange.Herald

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