Covid-19 lockdown next steps: President Emmerson Mnangagwa keeps his cards close to his chest

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President Emmerson Mnangagwa is leaving it till late to announce the next steps following the expiry of the 21-day lockdown to combat the spread of the new coronavirus.

Government spokesman, Nick Mangwana took to Twitter to reveal that an announcement will be made on Sunday, the day the three-week period is due to expire.

“Regarding the question of whether the #LockDownZim will be extended or not, and if extended, what shape that will take, we would like to advise that an announcement will be made tomorrow,” Mangwana tweeted on Saturday afternoon.

Anxious Zimbabweans had taken to speculating on what actions the President would take, but so far, Mnangagwa has so far kept his cards close to his chest.

On the other hand, others thought Mnangagwa would make the announcement on the next steps when he addressed the nation in his Independence Day speech, but again the President left the nation guessing.

However, the decision to leave it till the last minute is not without its critics, with MDC-Alliance treasurer general, David Coltart warning that this could cause unnecessary confusion.

“Businesses need to be able to plan ahead and the government should announce its intentions today,” Coltart wrote in a blogpost.

“It will cause chaos if the government waits until the weekend, or after the weekend, to announce its decision.”

Mnangagwa announced a 21-day lockdown beginning on March 30.

Zimbabwe has recorded 24 confirmed cases of coronavirus, three deaths and two recoveries.

Critics of the lockdown say it leaves the poor more vulnerable to hunger and safety nets should have been put in place before lockdown was implemented.

Its proponents say the lockdown is necessary to avoid a widespread outbreak of the coronavirus, which could have devastating effects on the country, considering the poor health infrastructure.

South Africa and Namibia announced their next steps well in advance, as they extended their respective lockdown periods and some thought Mnangagwa would take a cue from his counterparts.

— NewsDay


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