President Emmerson Mnangagwa has officially declared a total shutdown where all citizens are to stay indoors in light of the spreading coronavirus pandemic.
The shutdown is with effect from Monday, 30th March 2020 and will run for an initial period of 21 days, subject to review. The President said food markets will remain open and movement will only be allowed with respect to the procurement of food, medicines or other necessities. All citizens in fuel queues will not be allowed to leave their vehicles.
Security forces will be on hand to assist civilian law enforcement agencies to ensure compliance. Only members of the COVID-19 Taskforce and civil servants carrying their duties will be allowed unrestricted movement.
All public transportation is suspended during this period, except for Zupco buses and public service commission buses. However, these buses are required to enforce social distancing measures and disinfecting of vehicles as previously ordered.
The President further said hospital visits will be limited to one visitor per patient per day.
Below are some of the highlights from the President’s address about the 21-day national lockdown:
Only food markets to remain open, others to close
All public transport, except Zupco, is suspended. Social distancing is recommended in Zupco
Motorists seeking to refuel will not be allowed to leave their vehicle
Informal markets to be closed
Formal shops to open for 4 hours daily
Exemptions for sanitary wear, bottled water, bread, sugar, maize meal, pharmaceutical businesses
Millers have been DIRECTED by Command Centre to IMMEDIATELY STOP supplying maize-meal in CBD FORTHWITH. All deliveries to be made to RESIDENTIAL areas only.
Mass transport operations suspended, except for employees in essential services
Employers and staff to negotiate salary cuts for the duration of the lockdown
National command element of security deployed to complement civilian efforts
Funerals exempted but numbers should be less than 50
Only food stalls will be allowed to operate, none food stalls will be closed
Ministry Of Health and Child Care will work with the Ministry of Information during this period to update the nation
A toll-free hotline, 2019, has been set up
Govt is decentralising COVID19 testing services
The government will come down heavily on those unscrupulous businesses who seek to profiteer out of the situation.
Legal instruments being put in place to deal with and punish those who cause alarm and despondency on social media
Business encouraged to support employees
Act responsibly and take hygiene seriously
However, the President did not address the issue of suspending rentals for businesses and residential properties as had been alluded to in a leaked document.