Government has extended the current 30 day COVID-19 lockdown by a further two weeks to the 15th of February 2021, vice President Constantino Chiwenga has announced.
Zimbabwe announced a new level 4 lockdown which was expected to end on the 5th of February following a surge in the number of Covid-19 cases.
In his address to the nation Vice President Constantino Chiwenga said the extension is as a result of the likelihood of new COVID-19 strains that are more infectious and contagious.
“Government continues to intensify testing and patients care throughout the provinces. We have a likelihood of new strains and variant circulating these strains are more transmissible and infectious.
“We are doing genomic sequencing to see if these strains are in our environment, results will be published as soon as we have them. Government will soon be bringing in vaccines against Covid-19. A roll out plan and deployment strategy is being finalized. The nation will be kept informed on all these developments,” said Chiwenga
Chiwenga said the lockdown had calmed the situation which had seen the number of recoveries rising.
“The level four that came into effect on the 5th of January 2021 has stabilized our situation in relative terms and since the lockdown, the number of infections have been decreasing substantially, equally our recovery rate has gone up from an all-time low of 54% to the current one which is 75%.
“Even though the numbers we are losing to the pandemic are falling we bemoan the fact that Zimbabweans are dying at all, any death is one death too many, still we need to stay the course by upping our vigilance the war is not yet won,” he added.
Chiwenga added that the lockdown had been extended cognizant of the difficulties that come with lockdowns which has often been blamed for disrupting livelihoods among other effects.
“It is in light of this, that His Excellency the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe and Commander In Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Cde Dr. Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa has decided to extend the level four national lockdown by another two weeks to the 15th of February 2021.
“The President fully appreciates the difficulties which come with this extension, livelihoods are being disrupted yet we must save lives and our nation. We must not lose the momentum which means we must mask up, sanitize, maintain social distance, stay at home and get tested and if positive self-isolate. Together we will overcome,” he said.
At the commencement of the 30-day lockdown, Zimbabwe had recorded 14 084 cases and 369 deaths.
As of 28 January 2020, 32,646 cases and 1160 deaths.