Govt imposes overnight curfew, announces new restrictions to contain Covid-19

President Emmerson Mnangagwa has imposed a dusk to dawn curfew as part of a cocktail of measures meant to control the spiralling Covid-19 infections in the country.

As of July 20, the country had recorded 1713 cases and 26 deaths, with 728 cases recorded in the past week alone.

Addressing the nation on Tuesday, President Mnangagwa said the new measures which come into effect on Wednesday July 22, 2020, “will entail curtailing the freedoms we have always enjoyed” as it is the duty of the government “to preserve and protect the right to life”.

“All non-working sections of our population will be required to stay at home; except for purposes of securing food, water and health services,” the president announced.

“With effect from tomorrow Wednesday 22 July 2020, all business premises must operate from 0800 hrs until 1500 hrs, with the exception of providers of essential services.

As of tomorrow Wednesday 22 July 2020, all our Security Services must enforce a dusk-to-dawn curfew set to come into force daily between 1800 hrs and 0600 hrs. Only essential services are exempt from this curfew.”

President Mnangagwa added: “All business operations and premises are required to observe and enforce World Health organisation anti-Covid-19 standards which include observing social distance at workplaces, wearing of masks at all times, regular screenings and strict hygienic standards at workplaces.”

Only registered Small to Medium Enterprises (SMES) which have been allocated workspaces will be allowed to operate, and must comply with the parameters and protocols set by the World Health Organisation.

“Our food markets will remain open and operational, and must observe set measures, rules and requirements meant to uphold public health. Suppliers to markets should be facilitated to reach the markets, including by our Security Forces,” said the president.

“Inter-city/town public transport and inessential transport to all rural areas remain banned. All approved buses and vehicles for public transport should ensure and enforce public health standards, including the screening of passengers before boarding, and the disinfecting of all public vehicles after each round trip.”

Public gatherings for social, religious or political purposes remain banned while funeral gatherings remain curtailed, in line with public health requirements.

President Mnangagwa also warned deserting from quarantine centre will be “considered a criminal act and invite very robust response from our law and public health-enforcement arms.”

“Anyone who knowingly exposes, aids, abets, or infects innocent persons, whether by breaching conditions of isolation or by encouraging actions which undermine public health measures which Government has announced or undertaken, will be liable, and severely punished accordingly.”

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