Journalist Zororo Makamba on Monday became the first Zimbabwean to succumb to Covid-19. The Government immediately announced a raft of measures aimed at containing the spread of the virus which at the moment has just three confirmed cases in the country. 

President Mnangagwa ordered the immediate closure of all borders to human traffic and banned non-essential travel except for the movement of cargo. The Government also promulgated Statutory Instrument (SI) 77 of 2020 that provides up to 12 months imprisonment for people who gather in crowds of more than 50 people as it steps up measures to curb the spread of Covid-19. 

President Mnangagwa also announced Government’s blanket ban  on   gatherings around recreational facilities such as nightclubs, bars, beerhalls, movie houses, swimming pools, gymnasiums and sporting activities until further notice. The President said he was aware that the curtailment of social activities will be hard on all Zimbabweans but such measures had become necessary and unavoidable for the nation’s collective safety. 

Government has declared the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic a State of National Disaster. This enables Government to mobilise resources and take necessary measures in dealing with Covid-19. Zimbabwe although it has just three confirmed Covid-19 cases, has resolved to take measures to minimise the risk of exposure to the virus given the fact that countries in the Sadc region including neighbouring South Africa are witnessing a rapid increase in cases of coronavirus. 

Government has already postponed the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair and the 40th Independence Day celebrations that were scheduled for Bulawayo next month. All pending international sporting fixtures have also been postponed until the threat of coronavirus recedes. Government on Monday reduced public gatherings including for religious purposes from 100 people to just 50.

President Mnangagwa has said more isolation centres are being identified and he has directed the National Disaster Management Machinery to extend its mandate and focus on dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. He said all hospitals have now been put on high alert to enable them to deal with the threat of Covid-19. 

Government premises are being equipped for screening procedures and companies as well as other organisations have been urged to do the same to ensure a total and effective response to the coronavirus. 

Government continues to curtail unnecessary travel outside the country especially to destinations in countries affected by the virus and is also encouraging travellers from high risk countries to postpone their visit to Zimbabwe for the next 30 days. 

We want to urge Zimbabweans to embrace the measures that have been put in place by Government which are meant to minimise the risk to exposure to Covid-19. It will hit the economy hard but as the President said, the measures have become necessary and avoidable hence the need for each and every Zimbabwean to play his or her role.