PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa yesterday ordered a partial lockdown for government and Zanu PF workers, saying only a third should report for duty while others stay at home as part of efforts to combat the spread of the coronavirus scourge that has ravaged the world.

BY MOSES MATENGA

Mnangagwa’s order before yesterday’s politburo meeting came as doctors and nurses downed tools citing risky working conditions in the wake of the deadly virus, which has killed some 20 799 and infected another 452 664 people globally as at 9pm last night.

A Zanu PF central committee meeting that was set for today in Harare has been shelved.

Mnangagwa said so far, only two cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed, with one of them being that of journalist Zororo Makamba, who has since succumbed to the deadly disease.

The President’s figure, however, contradicts his Health ministry
which announced three cases on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Finance minister Mthuli Ncube’s personal assistant and Deputy Chief Secretary to the Cabinet and presidential spokesperson, George Charamba’s driver and personal assistant were put in self-isolation following their contact with Zororo, with one of the top aides testing positive.

“There is need for us to review our situation and, therefore, I announced on Monday more elaborate measures meant to curtail the spread of the virus,” Mnangagwa told politburo members before yesterday’s meeting.

“Social distancing must also be observed. Where possible, essential and non-essential staff should be encouraged to take turns and work from home and, as from Friday this week, all government departments and ministries will only have a third of their staff for two weeks and another two-thirds at home and after that, another third comes,” he said.

Mnangagwa said he had also instructed the party secretary for administration, Obert Mpofu, to ensure that only a third of the Zanu PF workers at the headquarters were at work while the rest stayed at home.

The meeting was held in a big hall at the party headquarters in what Mnangagwa said was in line with the need for social distancing.

Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) has, with immediate effect, suspended all electoral activities until further notice.

Zec chairperson Justice Priscilla Chigumba said the latest development was made in view of the coronavirus pandemic and would affect the Chiredzi ward 16 by-election, which was scheduled for April 4.