President relaxes lockdown

By Political Reporter

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has relaxed the country’s COVID-19 lockdown saying industries and informal traders should start operating with strict adherence to coronavirus regulations prescribed by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Speaking at State House yesterday, the President said the relaxation of the COVID-19 regulations has been a result of the declining number of cases in the country.

In the new lockdown measures, the President reviewed curfew time and business operating hours.

“The wearing of face masks, temperature checks as well as washing of hands on all public place remains mandatory. The curfew is adjusted and will now be from 10pm to 0530 am. Letters are no longer required for movement. Supermarkets can now remain open up to 7pm,” said the President.

The President further said that industries will now re-open with strict adherence to WHO set standards and national COVID-19 guidelines and non-compliance will attract targeted closure of entities.

He said Small to Medium Enterprises, food markets and the informal sector can re-open on condition they adhere to WHO guidelines.

The President also announced that inter-city travel can now resume and bus operators are required to ensure the disinfection of buses, wearing of masks and sanitization of passengers.

He said schools, colleges and universities must continue to prepare for re-opening under WHO and national COVID-19 guidelines and encouraged adoption of virtual or long distance learning where possible.

Gatherings for funerals remains at a maximum of 30 people, while other social gatherings should not exceed 50.

The President said restaurants will only be permitted to open for takeaways and deliveries while bars, beer halls, nightclubs and gyms will remain closed. Bottle stores, like other shops, will only open for takeaways.

 In the same address, the President thanked the Chinese Government for its donation of 400 000 doses of vaccines and said a further 600 000 doses bought by Government from China would be arriving soon, while a further 1, 2 million had been availed by Chinese companies.

He also expressed gratitude to India, Russia and Britain for the pledges of donations they have made.

President Mnangagwa said vaccination will be done for free and private entities and organisations who want to procure the vaccines for their staff or members, must be prepared to distribute for free.

Since 5 January this year, the country has been on Level four lockdown following a spike of COVID-19 cases and deaths.