Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has declared renewed COVID-19 lockdown, imposing a 12-hour curfew to be effective starting Wednesday from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. local time.
On March 30, the country was placed under lockdown to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus which first emerged in China last December.
In May, Mnangagwa also declared an indefinite lockdown as the COVID-19 spread across the globe uncontrollably.
Now, declaring yet another war on the pandemic, the president said: “With effect from tomorrow 22 July 2020, all business premises must operate from 0800-1500 hours, with exception of providers of Essential Services. Only Essential Services are exempt from this curfew.”
“All non-working sections of our population will be required to stay at home, except for securing food, water, and health services.”
He also said the renewed lockdown will be stringently enforced by the country’s security forces, including the military and police.
But disgruntled pro-democracy activists in Zimbabwe have criticized the curfew as an onslaught on planned July 31 anti-government protests.
“The curfew is clearly aimed at stopping planned anti-government protests set for July 31 and this is an affront to democracy. It’s a subtle way of crucifying democracy hiding behind coronavirus fight,” Owen Dhliwayo, a pro-democracy activist in Harare, told Anadolu Agency.
Yet, even then, Mnangagwa said: “Desertion from quarantine centers by returnees and infected persons, resulting in the exposure of innocent lives to the virus will be considered a criminal act and invite a robust response from our law and public health enforcement arm.
“Public gatherings for social, religious, and political purposes remain banned. Funeral gatherings remain curtailed in line with health requirements,” added Mnangagwa as he intensified the lockdown.
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