Zim Govt extends Kwekwe Special lockdown by 2 weeks, introduces new stiffer measures

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OWEN MATAVA in Kwekwe

Government has with immediate effect extended the localized Kwekwe Special lockdown by a further 2 weeks as it moves in to avert the spread of the deadly Indian Covid-19 variant which was recently detected in the town, midlandsnews can report.

The lockdown which came into effect two weeks ago will now run for a further two week period following a surge in positive cases in Kwekwe, which to date has 74 cumulative cases, 70 active cases, 3 recoveries and 1 death. It is highlighted that the Indian Variant has been detected in some of the new cases.

“Notwithstanding anything to the contrary in this order, for the period ending on the 22nd of June 2021, Kwekwe District shall be subjected to the following special restrictions (which shall be additional to the other restrictions imposed by this order to the extent that the latter are not inconsistent with special restrictions”, reads part of the amended special lockdown order issued out on Tuesday night.

“There shall be a curfew from 1900hours to 0600hours, provided that vehicular traffic in transit through Kwekwe City is permitted if the driver concerned can satisfy an enforcement officer that he or she will not stop in Kwekwe City.

“No visitors shall be permitted at boarding schools and all day schools shall observe the Covid 19 school protocols prescribed from time to time by enforcement officers acting on the instructions of the Ministry of Health and Child Care”, added the Government.

Part of lockdown recommendation included the ban of weddings, church services and other public and private groupings.

The order also seeks to ban the opening of bars, night clubs and all beer drinking places.

All funerasls in Kwekwe, under the strict lockdown once approved will only take place under the supervision of an enforcement officer and should not gather more than 30 people.

The latest developments which were announced Tuesday during a media post Cabinet briefing by Information and Publicity Minister, Monica Mutsvangwa, said the localised lockdown was part of measures by the Government to contain the spread of Covid-19.

Since the onset of the Indian variant, the ministry tightened case investigations and contact tracing in Kwekwe to stop the spread of the variant.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said it is reclassifying the highly contagious triple-mutant Covid variant spreading in India as a variant of concern, indicating that it has become a global health threat.

According to WHO, a variant can be labelled as of concern if it has been shown to be more contagious and more deadly.

Uganda was the first country In Africa to confirm the spresence of the Indian variant identified in India late last year in a sample taken from a traveller.

The new wave of infections in Africa is thought to be partly associated with the emergence of some variants that are more transmissible.

Following the detection of the Indian variant in Zimbabwe, Government has since announced measures, including the localised lockdown, to prevent it from spreading.