The government of Zimbabwe has issued a statement imploring the citizenry to be disciplined during the national lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus. We present the statement below.
LOCKDOWN STATEMENT BY THE ACTING MINISTER OF INFORMATION PUBLICITY AND BROADCASTING SERVICES. HON DR J MUSWERE 13 JANUARY 2021
Fellow Zimbabweans we address you on the 9th day of our National Lockdown that was pronounced in an effort to curb the spiralling number of Covid-19 infections. It is now evident that there is need for national discipline and self-prudence as we wage a war against this invisible enemy. As many observers have noted in the past few weeks for many of us, the pandemic continues to hit much closer to home as we are losing close family members, friends, colleagues, neighbours, workmates and acquaintances. We cannot afford to have a lackadaisical approach in this fight as it will annihilate us all.
Ladies and Gentlemen, whilst the generality of Zimbabweans have conducted themselves very well, it is quite disturbing that there are individuals who are wantonly disregarding the dictates of the lockdown regulations, thereby unnecessarily putting many lives at risk. This kind of behaviour is deplorable and must be condemned. Fellow Zimbabweans, it is imperative that we all act responsibly if we are to survive the onslaught as this reckless behaviour threatens to jeopardise our very own existence.
Taskforce must be commended for leading the way in the fight against the pandemic. The following matters were discussed.
1. On Surveillance, the number of new cases continues to grow exponentially. As of 12 January 2021, Zimbabwe’s cumulative cases of COVID-19 stood at 23 239. with 13 396 recoveries and 551 deaths. The national recovery rate stands at 57, 6%. which signifies a significant drop from last week which was 80.6% Harare and Bulawayo continue to lead in both the number of new infections as well as deaths, this, however, does not entail that the rest of the provinces are doing well, the whole country is encouraged to remain vigilant and guard against complacency.
2. A draft COVID-19 vaccine framework and plan is being developed.
3. Regarding law and order. our security forces continue to enforce the lockdown regulations by way of mounting roadblocks across the country as well as ensuring that only SI 10 of 2020 essential services designated areas are operational. As of 06 January 2021, a total of 309 061 arrests were made countrywide, for flouting lockdown regulations, indicating an increase of 16 286, from the 292 775 recorded in the last briefing. What is worrying is that within a week, 9993 people were arrested for not wearing masks and this points to negligence by some members of society who are not taking this virus seriously and this calls for behaviour change. Whilst the virus might not kill offenders, it has a potential to affect the next person who is a loved one a mother, a father, a colleague, a sister or a brother.
4. School examination classes began in earnest with pupils and invigilators reporting at exam centres without major hindrances. All necessary precautions to protect the teachers and students have been put in place and so far no major incidences have been recorded countrywide.
5. We would want to clarify on the issue of funerals that people are still inclined to follow SI 10 of 2020, which stipulates that a funeral cannot be attended by more than 30 people.
6. COVID-19 education and awareness initiatives are currently underway and the taskforce recommended sustained efforts in engaging key stakeholders such as traditional, political and religious leaders around the country to ensure that the COVID-19 message is cascaded down to the grassroots.
In conclusion, we are all reminded that self-discipline and self-policing are pre-requisites during this lockdown period and beyond. Be your brother’s keeper and follow the basic protocols of the lockdown and other ancillary regulations in force. It will be important to take heed of the wise counsel from the Acting President Cde KCD Mohadi who yesterday during the burial of the late national hero Brigadier-General Moyo at the National Heroes Acre, implored the nation to be vigilant when he said, ‘We nonetheless are cognisant as a nation of the importance of the prevention of the spread of this virus by strict observance of the restriction regulations and the WHO protocols of frequent hand washing with soap or sanitising, proper wearing of masks, social distancing and staying at home unless it is absolutely imperative for one to leave their home.’
I thank you