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Zimbabwe’s president warns further tightening of lockdown amid spike in new COVID-19 cases


FILE PHOTO: Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagw in Pretoria, South Africa, May 25, 2019. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Friday warned that the nationwide COVID-19-induced lockdown could be further tightened due to a spike in new infections.

Mnangagwa declared a total COVID-19 lockdown in March for an initial period of 21 days, which was followed by a further two weeks before the nation went into the current Level 2 partial lockdown.

The lockdown is meant to curb the further spread of the disease.

Addressing an ordinary session of the ruling ZANU-PF politburo, Mnangagwa said the rapid escalation in COVID-19 infections required another review of the lockdown regulations.

“The recent rapid spike of infections requires that we make another review of the COVID-19 lockdown measures soon,” he said, adding that the strategies adopted by the country to curb the spread of COVID-19 pandemic have to date yielded positive results.

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He said the country would continue to strengthen preventive measures, testing and contact tracing.

He warned groups agitating for government workers to go on strike for better pay, saying government will not stand by and watch while the country degenerates into chaos.

“We continue to see acts that seek to outrightly destabilize the peace, unity and harmony we are enjoying, in particular through the use of platforms in the health, education and security sectors. We shall never quiver or capitulate in the face of these machinations,” he said.

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He challenged those purporting to represent workers to do just that, pointing out that their mandate was a one-way traffic lane while political ambitions and views belonged to another lane.

He also warned civil society organizations to stick to their mandate, or risk being de-registered.

He further warned foreign embassies against interfering in the internal affairs of the country.

The opposition has called for street protests on July 31 against the deepening economic crisis.

Zimbabwe recorded three COVID-19 deaths on Thursday, taking the country’s death toll to 12 as the number of confirmed cases rose to 926.

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This was after 41 citizens tested positive, who include returnees from South Africa, Namibia, Japan, Sweden and 36 local infections.

There was a huge jump in recoveries of 100 in a single day, pushing the total number of recoveries to 306 while active cases are 608.

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