Govt reverse alert level 2 lockdown regulations, impose defacto total lockdown?

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By Taruberekera Masara

The government of Zimbabwe has reversed regulations on travelling arrangements in a move suspected to be a direct response to the steep rise in Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours and the  escape from quarantine centres by returning citizens.

According to Nick Mangwana the Cabinet directed that the country is still under lockdown climbing down from the stance it had taken on the 16 May when President Emerson Mnangagwa announced extension of the lockdown period to indefinite.

He said that people were required to get exemption letters for them to travel a proclamation that reversed what the President had said May 16 when the government declared that people no longer needed exemption letters when travelling.

“Cabinet emphasized that the country is still under lockdown, as such, exemption letters for essential services are still required for movement those concerned. Cabinet Decision Matrix 17” wrote Mangwana .

Part of the 16 May regulations made the wearing of masks compulsory in the lockdown alert level 2.

The directive came at a time when the country had recorded 76 Covid-19 cases in 24 hours.

180 returnees had also been reported to have escaped quarantine from various quarantine facilities around the country.

There are speculations that the climb down by Cabinet from the stance it had taken earlier on could have been necessitated by such developments.

To date Zimbabwe has recorded 132 cases of Covid-19 infections, 4 fatalities and 25 recoveries.

Under level 2 lockdown, industry and commerce have been allowed to reopen under supervision while the informal sector remains closed. Inter-city travel remains banned, as well as public gatherings of more than 50 people.

The President promulgated that informal street markets will remain shut while the government consults health specialists on how to reopen them safely.

Businesses such as manufacturers, supermarkets and banks, which have been allowed to continue operating, will now be able to work between 8am and 4.30pm compared with the six-hour day imposed previously.