Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa today hinted that he might extend the national lockdown which expires on Sunday.

Speaking at State House after receiving a variety of donations towards the coronavirus national response, Mnangagwa said the government was aware of the negative impact the lockdown has had on the economy, but saving the lives of Zimbabweans was more important.

As government, our responsibility is to look after the living. So I believe that it is necessary that we do everything in our power to preserve life,€ he said.

€œIn relation to our own situation, the spike is going up, it is not going down so we have to take more measures until we reach a stage where there are more recoveries than there are positive cases coming up then we know we are succeeding but for now we believe that we have not reached the peak of attack by the pandemic, so this is indicative of measures that shall continue to help us save lives.

We as government and I as President decided that on this challenge what do we do to balance the need for economic growth and the lives of the people? I came to the conclusion that if our people die we cannot resuscitate them, (but) the economy can die and it can be resuscitated now or in future, it does not matter. As long as people are alive we can always have conferences to say how do we resuscitate the economy but I have never seen a conference where people are discussing how to resuscitate the dead.

“So our bias is towards the preservation of life and this, why you are here, is demonstrative of your understanding that it is necessary to preserve life. We had the first lockdown which I extended by another 14 days, when she (Defence Minister Oppah Muchinguri) came to disturb me I was thinking about what happens after this one ends, but the primary objective is to give priority to saving lives.

I have been studying events worldwide, how governments are reacting to this thing, some (reactions) border on the line of carelessness, some border on the line of over cautiousness so we must find a way where in my view we err on the side of cautiousness than err on the side of recklessness.

Zimbabwe has so far tested 7 287 people and 32 were positive. Four have died and only five have recovered so far, four from one family.

Business had asked that government lift restrictions at local level so that people can go on with their business but restrict inter-city travel.- New Ziana

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