Zimbabwe: Mash West Districts Lockdown Tightened

Mukudzei Chingwere and Conrad Mupesa

Makonde district has been placed under a localised Covid-19 lockdown, becoming the third district in Mashonaland West Province to face such a measure after Hurungwe and Kariba with Karoi Town Council engineer, Mr Oswell Mazvimbakupa, reportedly succumbing to the virus yesterday.

Eng Mazvimbaku (45) died in Karoi which was last week put under localised Covid-19 lockdown to thwart spiralling virus cases.

Karoi Town Council chairperson, Councillor Abel Matsika confirmed the death.

President Mnangagwa yesterday announced the further tightening of restrictions for the three districts as part of efforts to contain the deadly corona virus.

This comes after a spike in infections in Mashonaland West, particularly in Hurungwe, Karoi Town and Kariba, where increased deaths have been reported in the past few weeks.

The measures include sharply reduced business hours, a 12-hour curfew as well as prohibition of entry and exit in the said districts save for essential services.

Contact tracing has since been heightened with all contacts being quarantined while positive cases will be isolated.

In a statement read on his behalf by Vice President and Minister of Health and Child Care Dr Constantino Chiwenga last night, President Mnangagwa said the rising cases in Kariba could be attributed to a spike in cases in neighbouring Zambia.

According to statistics compiled by Worldometer, yesterday alone Zambia recorded more than 3 300 new cases and more than 33 deaths.

President Mnangagwa said Covid-19 cases were continuing to increase in the above-mentioned districts.

On Monday Mashonaland West had 38 cases, 115 on Tuesday and 105 on Wednesday.

"Karoi has 10 tobacco auction floors and this has resulted in the town drawing growers from as far as Gokwe and Chegutu and people from Harare.

"The town is a business hub and has the potential to spread the disease to other parts of the country," said President Mnangagwa.

"We lost two senior Government employees today in Karoi and in Chinhoyi, tests on 15 people found all 15 Covid-19 positive.

There is a serious outbreak in Zambia and this exposes Kariba to Covid-19 from across the border," he added.

Zimbabwe this week adopted a new range of tightened measures to contain the spread of the deadly virus which has killed nearly four million people worldwide in two years.

The President said measures in the three districts would be tighter including banning people from loitering in public places and decongesting workplaces to 25 percent.

Funerals will be supervised by health authorities, a curfew will be in effect from 1800hrs to 0600hrs while business operating hours have been reduced to operate between 0800hrs and 1500hrs.

Public transport will carry half their capacity and there will be no face to face meetings.

Every employee of a tobacco auction floor has to have a negative PCR or rapid antigen Covid-19 test not older than 10 days.

Hotels and lodges will provide room service only while bars, beerhalls and nightclubs are closed. Bottle stores will operate from 1000hrs to 1500hrs.

Kwekwe in the Midlands Province is also under a localised lockdown.

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