The Zimbabwe President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has declared fresh lockdown in the country to tackle the spike of the coronavirus pandemic.
Mnangagwa made the announcement on Tuesday after the country reported about 1,713 cases.
The president announced a night curfew, banned political, religious and social gatherings, and reduced business operating hours.
Mnangagwa said, “The curtailing of freedoms we have always enjoyed, and have grown accustomed to was necessary.
“Although some claim the banning of political gatherings is aimed at suppressing an anti-government protest planned for July 31,” the president said.
According to the president all business are to operate from 8 am – 3 pm local time, with only essential service providers exempted from the curfew.
He added that people will only be allowed to go out of their homes to buy food or get medical treatment.
“Inter-city travel and gatherings of more than 50 people – whether festive, religious or political – remain prohibited,” he added.
Mnangagwa noted that the curfew and stringent lockdown would be enforced by the country’s security forces.
In an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19, President Mnangagwa initially introduced a 21-day lockdown on March 30, banning large gatherings and ordering the closure of most businesses, except food stores.
“The accelerating spread of COVID-19 in South Africa could be a precursor to what will happen in the rest of Africa,” said World Health Organization executive director of emergencies, Dr. Mike Ryan.
“I think this isn’t just a wake-up call for South Africa. We need to take what is happening in Africa very seriously,” said Ryan at the WHO weekly news conference in Geneva on Monday.
“Many of those countries exist in the midst of fragility and conflict, many of them need external help support,” he added.