President announces measures to curb Covid 19 Omicron variant

Staff Reporter

Following the discovery of the new Omicron variant in neighbouring countries and the possibility of the Covid 19 fourth wave, President Mnangagwa has announced a raft of measures meant to mitigate the spread of the disease in the country.

In a national address yesterday, President Mnangagwa tightened existing lockdown measures and announced that all returning residents and visitors now have to undergo mandatory quarantine upon entry.

“What raises our concern, and adds to our anxieties, is the outbreak of a new strain - OMICRON - detected and reported in neighbouring countries only a few days ago. We face a new, added risk, which compounds the burden we already face and shoulder from known variants we have been grappling since the outbreak of the pandemic.

“It is in view of this new, ominous development that Government has decided on new, enhanced measures to strengthen our national response, and to protect our nation from impact of a likely 4th wave, which the new variant, OMICRON, will most certainly aggravate,” said the President.

President Mnangagwa stressed that the measures announced yesterday were a continuation of present regulations and urged citizens not to be complacent but to always keep guard.

“All returning residents and visitors have to undergo PCR testing, and will be quarantined, at own cost, for days recommended by World Health Organisation (WHO), even if they present negative PCR test results from elsewhere. A daily curfew, running from 9pm to 6am, will be imposed to limit movement and hence transmission. Only essential services categories announced in previous gazettes stand exempt,” said President Mnangagwa.

The President added that all shops will open for business from 0700 hours and will close for business by 1900 hours and the number and behaviour of all persons attending any gathering must observe and comply with WHO protocols that include masking, social distancing and sanitising.

The Head of State further said that all Covid-19 related funerals would strictly be supervised by Ministry of Health and Child Care Environmental Health Officers and Technicians. He added that no liquor would be consumed at bottle stores, which consequently cease to be drinking premises until further notice. He said night clubs and bars would admit vaccinated clients only while restaurants were required to close at 1900 hours.

The President called upon all citizens yet to be vaccinated to do so. He added that the announced measures would be reviewed after 14 days.

As of yesterday, 3 794 549 people had received their Covid 19 first jab while 2 816 543 had received their second jab.