Zimbabwe Enters 30-Day Lockdown as COVID-19 Cases Spike

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The Zimbabwean government has announced plans to enforce 30 days of lockdown regulations following a spike of Covid-19 cases during the holiday season.

“Gatherings are reduced to not more than 30 people at all funerals,” vice president Constatino Chiwenga told reporters in the capital, Harare. “All other gatherings at weddings, churches, bars, bottle stores, gymnasium, restaurants are banned for 30 days. Restaurants, bottle stores and bars are closed for 30 days except for bars and restaurants serving hotel residents.”

At the start of November, the total number of Covid-19 cases stood at 8374 — the number has since nearly doubled to more than 14,000, with at least 369 virus-related deaths.

Gatherings in the country have now been reduced to a maximum of 30 people, and the government has also issued a country-wide curfew from 6 pm to 6 am.

“Only essential services are to remain open such as hospitals, pharmacies and supermarkets, with only essential staff allowed to come to work,” Chiwenga said, adding that these services would be have reduced hours and would also be subject to the night curfew.

The announcement comes as South Africa implemented an adjusted Level 3 lockdown to preserve medical supplies. Both private and public hospitals are near full capacity. South Africa became the first country on the continent to register more than one million Covid-19 cases, recording a daily average of 11,700 new infections.

South Africa is also battling a new coronavirus variant – known as 501.V2 – which is believed to be driving the surge in infections. The variant has also been detected in Zambia, Japan, Australia, South Korea and Switzerland.

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