Zimbabwe might not need to extend the 30-day level 4 coronavirus lockdown which came into force on 5 January but this will depend on the progression of the pandemic, Vice-President Constantino Chiwenga who is also Minister of Health said today.
He said the number of cases was increasing and as such people should not slacken. They should continue to wear masks, observe social distancing and sanitise.
Zimbabwe has recorded 273 deaths and 11 501 new cases in the past two weeks. There were 363 deaths and 13 867 cases from the outbreak of the pandemic in March to the end of December last year.
Addressing a press conference today Chiwenga said that it was unfortunate that some people were continuing to defy lockdown measures putting the lives of many at risk.
“If all our people maintained a positive attitude towards measures to combat the corona virus, there was not going to be any need for imposition of a national lockdown,” he said.
“I am aware that lockdown measures do hurt the socio-economic livelihoods, freedoms, rights and liberties of individuals. Nevertheless, they may be necessary if some of our citizens display nonchalant behavior.
“Honestly, would you require security forces to persuade you to conform to some of these basic guidelines? We are not interested in arresting our people, therefore I urge you to reawaken internal discipline.”
The Vice-President dispelled reports that the country’s hospitals were overwhelmed describing this as “embellished social media allegations by some pen-mercenaries”.
“In my capacity as your Minister of Health and Child Care, I want to take this opportunity to urge our beloved citizens not to panic and that they should rely on official information,” he said.
On testing, Chiwenga said Zimbabwe had the capacity to test 6 000 people day. He had yet to come across a country that had enough testing equipment.
Chiwenga said Zimbabwe was following developments on covid-19 vaccinations but had adopted a measured approach with experts interrogating all safety concerns.
He, however, said vaccination would be voluntary.
Below is his full statement:
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