Quick facts on the COVID-19 pandemic in Zimbabwe


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How many confirmed cases does Zimbabwe have?

Seven as of March 27, according to the Ministry of Health and Child Care. The number of positive cases could rise as the rate of tests increases.

How many deaths so far?

One death on March 23 of a 30-year-old Zimbabwean (Zororo Makamba) who had been to the U.S.A.

How many people have been tested?

According to a Ministry of Health update on Friday, March 27:

188 tests have been conducted,

181 negative;

7 positive;

How many people are being monitored?

Health Minister Obadiah Moyo says more than 1 000 people were being monitored as at Thursday, March 26.

What has the government done so far?

The government has announced a 21-day lockdown, starting on Monday, March 30.

The government declared the COVID-19 crisis a “national disaster”, a move allowing it to commandeer State resources towards fighting the disease, to use emergency regulations and to deploy personnel for the same services.

It has set up an 11-member inter-ministerial committee to lead the management of the pandemic, identify gaps for corrective action, raise public awareness of the disease and to  mobilise domestic and international financial support required for the programme.

Can the government enforce compulsory testing?

Yes.

Under emergency regulations gazetted on March 23 called Public Health (Covid-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) Regulations 2020, the Minister of Health and Child Care can order designated medical officers to compulsorily test, quarantine, isolate and treat anyone who is exposed to infection or is confirmed as infected.

The regulations are valid to May 20 but can be extended a month at a time, depending on the situation.

Are the compulsory testing powers applicable everywhere?

Yes, they apply to all administrative districts.

 What else can the district medical officers do under the regulations?

They can order the evacuation, disinfection and closure of any building for up to 24 hours where those exposed to the risk of coronavirus infection may be gathered, and can order compulsory detention, isolation or quarantining of anyone there for 48 hours or until they have been tested and cleared.

 How long is the quarantine period?

When confirmed as infected, a person will be quarantined for at least 14 days within their home, a hospital or designated isolation centre.

What happens if a person escapes from quarantine?

They can be arrested without the authorities needing a warrant.

What about refusing to be tested or quarantined?

The government says a person faces a “stiff fine” and a year in prison.

What rights do you have in quarantine?

The medical officer must ensure an infected person is provided or has access to “basic necessities to maintain an acceptable standard of nutrition and hygiene.”

A person might be released temporarily for access to these under specified conditions.

Cleaning to minimise the spread of Coronavirus

The Minister of Health can order local authorities to inspect premises and fix sanitary or other defects likely to further the spread of Covid-19.

He also has powers to order the disinfection, removal, destruction or restriction of merchandise likely to also lead to the spread of the disease.

Public traffic and movement through curfews

In consultation with the President, the minister of health also has powers under the emergency regulations to impose restrictions on public traffic and movement through curfews, order closure of schools, worship and church gatherings, bars and recreation facilities.

Public gatherings?

The government banned large public gatherings, including for funerals, prayer and religious meetings, limiting numbers to 50, as of orders issued on March 20.

Schools and colleges?

School and colleges were closed on March 24 until further notice.

Closure of open vending markets

The Government announced on Friday that all markets, save for food stalls, would be shut down. The food markets will operate under the supervision of health officials.

 Domestic travel and movement?

When he launched his government’s response plan to COVID-19, President Emmerson Mnangagwa urged Zimbabweans to avoid “unnecessary travel” both locally and abroad.

On Friday, March 27, all public transport was banned. However, ZUPCO buses and Public Service Commission buses will remain in operation, although they will be required to observe social distancing and the requisite sanitation measures.

What about Air Travel?

Airlines from abroad have stopped flying into Zimbabwe, and the country’s own airline has suspended all flights.– ZimFact

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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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