HARARE – President Emmerson Mnangagwa has extended the Level 4 lockdown by a further two weeks as the fight to contain COVID-19 continues.
Mnangagwa who has mastered the art of ‘copying and pasting’ addresses by South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, said efforts to control the pandemic has been paying dividends.
“The pandemic has caused untold devastation throughout the world. By Friday 9th July 2021 over 118 million cumulative cases and just over 4 million cumulative deaths had been recorded globally.
“Over the past three weeks, Africa has seen a sudden surge in cases and deaths with several countries in the southern Africa region experiencing a third wave. To date, over 4 million infection cases including over 101 000 deaths have been recorded in Africa with South Africa recording the largest numbers of both.
“In Zimbabwe, by yesterday the 12th July 2021, the nation had recorded a total of 70 426 cumulative cases and 2 236 cumulative deaths since the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic in 2020.
“The nation has resorted to using various methods and approaches to prevent, contain and mitigate the covid-19 pandemic in line with World Health guidelines. Many cases have indeed been recorded.
“Our vaccination programme for example has remained one of the most successful in Africa. Unfortunately, the many successes recorded in our covid-19 responses have not been enough to stem the wave. The recent surge in cases and death is a reminder that we need to do more.
“Government had anticipated that the lockdown measures would assist in reducing the spread in infections and ultimately to halt this surge. Instead, the current data are indicating a worrisome trend. Cases and deaths are continuing to increase at an alarming rate.
“A quick assessment on the ground points to a number of factors contributing to this surge. First, complacency by communities in adhering to prevention measures including the lockdown and basic World Health protocols such as proper wearing of masks, washing of hands and social distancing.
“Second, the highly transmittable Delta variant is now circulating in our communities. Latest genomic sequencing results received last week indicate that approximately 80% of the fresh cases in Zimbabwe are now due to the Delta variant that originated in India.
“Third, the situation has been made worse by loopholes in enforcing lockdown measures and all other recommended prevention measures. For instance, some people deliberately beat these measures by travelling at night to evade the ban on inter-city travel.
“Fourth and finally, we have decided to extend lockdown by another two weeks. The plan to maintain the current Level 4 will make it possible for the immediate acceleration of the vaccination program throughout the country.
“The program will now be taken to communities, making vaccination easily accessible to those seeking this essential service. The additional 2 million vaccine doses that were received this past week are enough to vaccinate a million people with each receiving the recommended two doses.
“The plan is to immediately vaccinate this targeted one million people during this extended two week level 4 lock period.
“Whilst vaccination roll out is key during this two weeks lockdown extension and beyond, strengthening and enforcement of all lockdown measures is going to play a very critical role.
“All lockdown measures will therefore be strengthened, enforced, stringently enforced,” said Mnangagwa.
The president also said areas of focus will include but will not be intended to the following:
1. Enforcement of proper wearing of face masks, sanitising and social distancing
2. Decongestion of all work places, controlling the number of customers in supermarkets and other trading areas
3. Strict enforcement of the ban on inter-city travel
4. Immediate introduction and implementation of the deterrent fines and withdrawal of licenses of offenders