GOVERNMENT yesterday tightened localised COVID-19 lockdown restrictions for Mashonaland West province following a surge in infections and soaring deaths.
In a statement last night, President Emmerson Mnangagwa expressed concern over the rising cases in Makonde, Hurungwe and Kariba districts of Mashonaland West province, and added that Karoi was experiencing increased activity as a result of the 10 tobacco auction floors which were drawing farmers from as far as Gokwe, Chegutu and Harare.
The increased activity created fertile grounds for infections, thereby heightening the potential of spreading the virulent diseases to other parts of the country.
Mnangagwa said government had lost two senior officials in Karoi.
In Chinhoyi, 15 people tested positive, while a serious outbreak in Zambia exposed Kariba to COVID-19 from across the border.
Following the rise in infections, Mnangagwa imposed a 6pm to 6am curfew, banned entry or exit from the hotspots, except for essential services.
Shops and businesses will open at 8am and close at 3pm, while public transport was ordered to carry half capacity.
Mnangagwa also banned physical meetings.
Truckers will only stop, park or rest at designated places only.
Tobacco auction floor employees will have to present a polymerase chain reaction or rapid antigen COVID-19 test results not older than 10 days.
Zimbabwe has recorded increased infections in the past weeks, with cumulative figures hitting 40 556, while COVID-19-related deaths stand at 1 640.