The government has postponed the re-opening of schools pending a review of the current Covid-19 situation while writing of examinations has been allowed to continue.
Cabinet also approved that current lockdown restrictions be tightened, while localised lockdowns are introduced in hotspot areas and any further re-opening of the economy be halted.
Addressing a post-cabinet media briefing in Harare on Tuesday evening, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa said:
Cabinet is disturbed by the spike in COVID-19 locally transmitted cases and the number of deaths recorded. To curb the increase in transmissions as well as deaths from COVID-19, the following measures were adopted:
(a) that the current lockdown restrictions will be tightened, while localised lockdowns are introduced in hotspot areas and further opening up of the economy is halted;
(b) that testing in communities with high cases of local transmission such as Bulawayo will be increased;
(c) that the re-opening of schools shall be deferred pending a review of the situation, while the writing of public examinations continues;
(d) that private schools that have already opened without permission will be penalized;
(e) that Government shall have the sole responsibility for inter-city travel for those that really require to travel especially to seek medical attention; and
(f) that two (2) buses will be availed to transport those that test positive from Beitbridge to their respective provincial isolation centres.
Cabinet further noted with concern that some members of some religious sects have gathered in their numbers in Manicaland Province for their yearly retreat, in contravention of COVID-19 regulations that prohibit gatherings of more than fifty (50) people.
This poses high risk to the spread of COVID-19. Accordingly, Cabinet directed that the gathering should disperse forthwith.
Let me also take this opportunity to report that His Excellency the President will announce comprehensive measures on the way forward regarding the country’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
This comes after the cumulative number of confirmed coronavirus cases surpassed 1 000 on Monday, with the number of people who have died due to COVID-19, the illness caused by SARS-CoV-2, the new coronavirus rising to 19.
There has also been a worrying rise in the number of local transmissions of the virus, with some of the cases being nurses working at some of the largest public hospitals in the country.