Zim dusk-to-dawn curfew imposed after spike in COVID-19 cases

Zimbabwe will undergo a “dark-to-dawn” daily curfew, during which only essential services will be allowed to operate, President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced on Tuesday evening. in a state of the nation address.

From Wednesday, business operating hours will be between 8am-3pm, while all non-working sections of the population will be required to stay at home except for the purposes of securing food, water and health services, said Mnangagwa.

Only registered small to medium enterprises which have been allocated work places will be allowed to operate, and must comply with the parameters and protocols set by the World Health Organisation.

Fresh food markets will also be allowed to remain open.

Rise in transmissions

President Mnangagwa said the rise in local transmissions of Covid-19 called for urgent and necessary measures including a suspension of freedoms. 

The new measures will be in place until further notice and will be reviewed once the situation has improved, said Mnangagwa.

The southern African country has in the past few weeks recorded a spike in Covid-19 positive cases, which saw several listed entities announcing the closure of business units and branches after workers tested positive.

As at 20 July 2020, Zimbabwe had 1 713 confirmed cases, including 472 recoveries and 26 deaths.

Local transmissions now exceed imported cases at a ratio of 872 to 841.

“Another worrisome development is that more and more cases are being reported at workplaces. COVID-19 is, therefore, no longer a problem out there, far and beyond our borders. Rather, it is now here, among us, and in our communities,” Mnagagwa said.

A number of organisations have been forced to close as a precaution.

Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed entity StarAfrica Corporation was forced to close operations at Goldstar Sugars and Country Choice Foods in strict adherence to the requirements of the public health authorities and WHO guidelines.

The country’s biggest mobile network operator, Econet Wireless, also announced Tuesday that “All Econet Shops will be closed from 22 July as some staff members tested positive to COVID-19.”

The National Statistical Office (Zimstat) also took similar measures on Monday after members of staff tested positive for COVID-19.