In an address to the nation at State House, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said so far the lockdown had contributed to the reduced number of local transmission of Covid-19 hence the need to continue with that trajectory.
“Despite these many achievements in the implementation of the National Preparedness and Response Plan, the outbreak is not over, and our country still has some gaps. These gaps are being addressed in a targeted way using a comprehensive COVID-19 preparedness and response strategy which takes into account risks and needs of different communities and populations.
“Zimbabwe will therefore continue on the level 2 lockdown for an indefinite period. We shall have regular two- week interval reviews to assess progress or lack of it. This should give us more time to strengthen the prevention and case management approach for the various risk populations.
“The modified phased re-opening strategy will further allow us to increase surveillance including early detection, testing, isolation, contact tracing, treatment and care with focus on high risk populations,” he said.
Mnangagwa said initial studies estimated that Zimbabwe would have about 1 000 confirmed Covid-19 cases by April 29th but the lockdown prevented further spreading of the virus.
“Our country therefore undertook an intensive surveillance and case finding approach. This entailed testing all hospitalised patients for COVID-19, individuals presenting with fever and influenza-like illnesses as well as contact tracing.
“To date, the lockdown period has contributed to the fact that local transmission of coronavirus has not been widespread in our country. Cases reported to date have mostly been imported or linked to imported ones,” he said.
“In order to maintain the positive momentum and not lose the gains so far, the country needs to ease out of the lockdown in a strategic and gradual manner. We must thus continue to minimise the risk of sudden spikes in the number of cases,” he said.
“To this end, it is imperative that we keep the pandemic curve flat to prevent the loss of life and devastating effects of the socio-economic environment of our country.”
Regarding the opening of schools and colleges, Mnangagwa said these would remain closed but a phased reopening would be carried out, starting with exam classes.
“As previously stated, public exam classes within schools and final year students at colleges and universities must be allowed to continue, recognising however, the stipulated Covid-19 prevention measures.
Meanwhile clear plans of the phased re-opening of schools must continue to be put in place,” he said.
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