BREAKING NEWS: President Mnangagwa declares Covid-19 a national disaster

By ZBC Reporter
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has declared Covid-19 a national disaster, the development allows for the mobilisation of resources to create systems for national alertness and rapid response to the pandemic which has since been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation.
In his State of the Nation Address at State House this Tuesday Afternoon, President Mnangagwa said all public events have been postponed for the next 60 days with the National Independence Celebrations and the Zimbabwe International Trade fair slated for Bulawayo postponed. All activities will resume once the Government is satisfied that the country is no longer at risk.
“The pandemic has reached our region and we now have to escalate our national response, above all we must re-adjust our lives and behaviour including foregoing certain fixtures, activities and practises we had grown accustomed to in order to keep the pandemic at bay.
“Government has decided to postpone, curtail or cancel public events, gatherings and activities.
“In that respect, Government has postponed the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, all national independence celebrations previously planned, and pending international sporting fixtures until the threat of coronavirus recedes,” said the President
“We must join hands working with the rest of the world on fighting this virus even though it has not yet crossed our borders. We must have a national response plan. Humanity is at risk and stands at hazardous crossroads,” said President Mnangagwa.
He assured the nation that the government’s response will neither be arbitrary nor reckless highlighting that all public hospitals have been put on high alert and resources that had been earmarked for cancelled events will be channelled towards response systems. More isolation centres are also being identified and these will be designated and equipped appropriately.
In light of the fact that Zimbabwe has so far no confirmed cases of Coronavirus, schools will remain open until the official closing date though dates for schools reopening will be announced, said the President.
President Mnangagwa said he has directed that the national disaster management system extend its focus to dealing with the pandemic with the Ministry of Helth and Child Care as the lead agency.
“Weekly reports will be made to cabinet, We thank our local, bilateral, international and multilateral partners for offering a helping hand including additional funding, training and upgrading and equipping of designated health facilities for effective response,” he said.
President Mnangagwa said as earlier announced, the government has curtailed unnecessary travel outside the country especially to high-risk countries and he urged the private sector to follow suit.
“Travellers from high-risk countries are encouraged to postpone their travel arrangements to Zimbabwe for the next 30 days starting from the 20th of March 2020, equally Zimbabweans are discouraged from travelling to, through and from high-risk countries during the same period,” said the President.
President Mnangagwa said while major border posts into the country remain operational, screening, testing and other World Health Organisation’s recommended measures will be enforced vigorously.
“All designated small border posts will stand closed down from now until further notice,” he added. President Mnangagwa said these restrictions will be reviewed as necessary and strictly on the basis of scientific evidence and information.