Cape Town – Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Saturday told the nation to stay at home during the 21-day lockdown to save lives and curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, Covid-19.
“Stay at home. Save lives,” he Tweeted on his official Twitter account with a video indicating that the lockdown would start on Monday, March 30.
Announcing the lockdown on Friday, Mnangagwa confirmed that Zimbabwe now had five cases of Covid-19 and one death.
“So far Zimbabwe has recorded 5 cases of Coronavirus, with 1 tragic death. Though our numbers are so far low, we have observed elsewhere how quickly the virus can spread. We are therefore taking decisive action NOW, before it is too late,” he tweeted.
Stay at home. Save lives. pic.twitter.com/JzHW5pO9KJ
— President of Zimbabwe (@edmnangagwa)
March 28, 2020
“On Monday Zimbabwe will go under a total lockdown for 21 days. Everyone must stay at home, except those seeking health services, buying food, medicine and vital supplies, and those manning essential services. I know this will upset all of our daily lives but there is no other way.
“Accurate information is crucial, and I have therefore directed the Ministries of Health and Information to ensure the public are kept informed at all times. We have activated a toll-free hotline, 2019, that you are welcome to call for further information,” he said.
So far Zimbabwe has recorded 5 cases of Coronavirus, with 1 tragic death. Though our numbers are so far low, we have observed elsewhere how quickly the virus can spread. We are therefore taking decisive action NOW, before it is too late 1/4
— President of Zimbabwe (@edmnangagwa)
March 27, 2020
“Additional treatment and isolation units will be established, and testing services will be decentralised to provincial hubs. Our task is huge and requires maximum discipline. Let us act in unity, peace and solidarity, and put aside unnecessary divisions. Together, we will prevail.”
On Saturday afternoon Zimbabwe’s Secretary for Information Nick Mangwana took to Twitter to urge Zimbabweans to not panic buy.
“There is really no need for panic buying or hoarding because supermarkets will be open during the #ZimLockdown #stayhomezim,” he said.
“#ZimLockdown is meant to save our lives. This was put in place for you and me. We shouldn’t find reasons to be exempted because the virus benefits from us looking for loopholes not to stay home #stayhomezim This is good for us.”
He said that Mnangagwa received materials including hydrogen peroxide from the Fossil Group to disinfect Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) buses for 90 days, including 10 tonnes being donated to the health ministry, five tonnes to five councils (Harare, Beitbridge Gweru, Mutar & Byo), 300 napscack sprayers and 500 goggles.
On Friday, State-owned, The Herald newspaper quoted the Ministry of Health and Childcare Permanent secretary Dr Agnes Mahomva as saying out of 165 tests conducted in the country, five had tested positive, 159 tested negative, and one was inconclusive.
“The ministry would like to report that today (Thursday) the National Microbiological Reference Laboratory tested 65 samples. Two of these tested positive for Covid-19. Among the 65 samples tested today, was the repeat test for the sample from the individual whom we reported previously as having received an inconclusive result. Today he tested negative for Covid-19. Therefore, to date, Zimbabwe has five confirmed cases of Covid-19, including one death,” Mahomva was quoted as saying in The Herald.
The Zimbabwe government appealed to citizens to remain vigilant to prevent the spread of Covid-19, and to practice good personal hygiene.
Meanwhile, neighbouring South Africa on Friday announced the country’s first two deaths from the virus as the number of infections increased to over 1 000.
According to the World Health Organisation, as of March 25, there were more than 410 000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 globally, and more than 18 000 deaths.
African News Agency (ANA); Editing by Devereaux Morkel