Govt mulls tighter lockdown measures as Covid-19 cases surge

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GOVERNMENT is planning to impose tighter lockdown measures after the country’s Covid-19 cases have surged beyond 800 with fears of more infections in the coming period.

This follows a Tuesday cabinet resolution to embark on rigorous enforcement of the current relaxed Level Two lockdown measures.

Government initially imposed a rigid lockdown on March 30, which has been gradually eased to allow for the reopening of strategic sectors of the economy.

This was after the country’s already fragile economy took a heavy knock, prompting Treasury to ask for urgent Financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The IMF has since spurned the appeal.

Before the lockdown, Zimbabwe had recorded only 42 cases, but now has over 850 cases driven mainly by citizens returning from neighbouring countries, South Africa and Botswana where a good number of them work.

Despite the country still officially under lockdown, most people are venturing out in pursuit of livelihoods in an economy which has become largely informal.

A source said cabinet, during its meeting on Tuesday, resolved to deploy more security details to enforce the lockdown before the situation deteriorates.

“Cabinet on Tuesday resolved to deploy more security details to enforce the lockdown in light of the rising cases of Covid-19 infections,” said the source.

“The general agreement was that if the cases continue to rise, we may end up having to re-impose the total lockdown because the current trajectory is not encouraging at all.

“We looked at the Malawi case study where cases have risen exponentially to nearly 2000 since they held their presidential election run-off. So, we said we cannot afford such a wave of infections.

“So, we said to the Home Affairs minister he must double containment efforts and the police must be seen doing much more before the situation goes out of hand.

“The general indication was that the police are not taking the matter seriously. You remember that we are also currently battling with returnees from South Africa, Botswana and other countries who are escaping from quarantine centres and cannot be accounted for.”

Information minister, Monica Mutsvangwa, who is also national Covid-19 taskforce spokesperson, confirmed cabinet concerns.

“Yes, those concerns were raised, but we are exploring many other alternative control measures before we can think of imposing a fresh strict lockdown.

“So, for now, that is out of consideration unless if the situation worsens to unsustainable levels,” she said.

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