Zimbabwe’s Soft Lockdown Gets WHO Backing

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has commended the Zimbabwean government for initiating stricter measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

On Saturday, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, in his capacity as Health and Child Care Minister, announced the intensified lockdown which comes into effect today, 14 June 2021.

The new restrictions are in response to a rise in COVID-19 infection rates and deaths recorded last week.

WHO Country Representative to Zimbabwe Dr Alex Gasasira told The Herald on Sunday that the government’s latest intervention was welcome and critical. He said:

What the Government of Zimbabwe is doing is in line with what the WHO recommends. It is necessary for governments to carefully review local evidence of levels of COVID-19 transmission and assess when additional restrictions are required to prevent the health system from being overwhelmed.

This is critical to prevent a very high death rate due to COVID-19. We have seen in other countries in our region and beyond, cases rising and overwhelming the health systems.

The new measures announced by the Government yesterday will help to mitigate against such a situation in the country.

The major changes are a one-hour reduction in the maximum number of working hours to 8 am to 6 pm, duty staff on the premises in non-essential enterprises to be at half level, all meetings and workshops to be virtual, restaurants only allowed to serve take-aways, and bottle store hours chopped to 10 am to 4 pm, with owners responsible for stopping customers drinking in or around the premises.

All sporting activities, religious and social gatherings, except funerals that have been limited to 30 people, have been banned.

Night clubs and beer halls remain shut.

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