Are public gatherings in Zimbabwe likely to be banned until end of August?


That sounds scary, but that is the opinion of one of the country’s senior health officials, Mpilo Central Hospital acting chief executive officer Dr Solwayo Ngwenya.

He told the Bulawayo daily, The Chronicle, that he welcomed the recent extension of the national lockdown to 3 May because if it were not for the timely imposition of the lockdown more people could have been infected in the country.

“If you see the figures that are being published, the virus is being contained from spreading out of control. The virus does very well in cold temperatures, which are coming in a few weeks or have already started,” he said.

“So, the lockdown has to be extended so that the virus does not get out of control during the cold season. I foresee lockdowns being given in small doses until August. I don’t foresee schools, churches and mass gatherings starting until after August,” he said.

“If there were no lockdowns and lockdown extensions, by this time in Zimbabwe we would be having a lot of infections and deaths. The lockdown is playing its role and we will continue to lobby for more extensions to protect the lives of citizens.”

Zimbabwe had tested 3 308 people by yesterday but still had only 25 positive cases. Three of those who tested positive have since died and two have recovered.

Bulawayo has the highest number of those who tested positive at 10. Although Harare also has 10, one of those is a returning resident from the United Kingdom with a Mutare address.

Bulawayo also had the highest number of people arrested for breaches of the lockdown during the first 21-day lockdown.

Out of the total 9 286 arrested:

  • Bulawayo had 2 064
  • Manicaland 1 851
  • Midlands 1 258
  • Harare 1 155
  • Mashonaland West 853
  • Matabeleland South 732
  • Matabeleland North 420
  • Mashonaland Central 323
  • Mashonaland East 323
  • Masvingo 243 arrests, while
  • 64 were picked by ZRP Support Unit

The Ministry of Health planned to test about 30 000 people by the end of this month but has so far only tested 10 percent of that target with 10 days to go.


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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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