HARARE, Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe recorded 1,365 new coronavirus cases and 34 deaths Tuesday, marking the single biggest daily increases for both since the country recorded its first case in April last year. 

The Ministry of Health said all of the new cases are local transmissions.

“1,365 new cases and 34 deaths reported in the last 24 hours. All 1,365 cases are local cases: 777 from Harare alone, while deaths were reported across the country, with the highest deaths recorded in Harare,” the ministry said in an update.

On Monday, the country recorded 564 new cases, all local transmissions, and four deaths, while there were 774 new cases and three deaths on Sunday, making the capital, Harare, an epicenter of the coronavirus.

The record number of new infections came as the government just imposed a 30-day level 4 lockdown that started Tuesday in a bid to prevent the spread of a new COVID-19 variant identified in South Africa.

Under the lockdown, gatherings at funerals have been reduced from 100 to 30 people, while gatherings at weddings, churches, bars, bottle stores, gymnasiums and restaurants have been banned for 30 days.

Only essential services such as supermarkets, hospitals and pharmacies will be allowed to operate from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and most Zimbabweans are required to stay at home.

All borders will be closed, but air travel remains open. However, passengers will be expected to produce COVID-19 free certificates obtained within 48 hours.

Mining, hotels, national parks and farming will be allowed to continue under strict COVID-19 regulations.

Between March and Nov. 1 last year, Zimbabwe recorded 8,374 cases. But by Tuesday, infections had more than doubled to 17,194 in two months.

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