Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Friday announced that the entire country would be put on a nationwide lockdown for 21 days from Monday to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, and security forces may be deployed to enforce it, reported Reuters.
The lockdown will restrict people to their homes for most activities, only permitting outings for buying food or health emergencies.
“Starting Monday March 30, 2020, and subject to further review, Zimbabwe will be under a total lockdown for a period of 21 days,” Mnangagwa said in a live broadcast.
Mnangagwa said only state and health workers on duty will be exempted from the lockdown. He said no more than 50 people will be allowed to assemble for funeral gatherings.
“Some of the measures will be drastic and are sure to upset the daily routines of our lives. Should it become necessary, security forces will be deployed to assist in the enforcement of these measures,” Mnangagwa said.
Opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa, came out in support of the government saying that he supported the government’s decision as Zimbabwe was “in circumstances of a catastrophe.”
“Politics aside, we must unite to save lives,” Chamisa wrote on Twitter.
According to the Zimbabwean Ministry of Health and Child Care, the number of people who have tested positive for Covid-19 in Zimbabwe has risen to seven, with one of them having succumbed to the disease. Four of the confirmed coronavirus cases involved had a travel history to the United States, Dubai, and the United Kingdom while three involved contact with an infected person. Six of the cases were in the capital Harare.
In related news, Zimbabwe’s central bank has allowed the citizens to pay for goods and services in United States dollars to mitigate against the coronavirus. The announcement comes less than a year after the country outlawed the use of foreign currencies in local transactions.