By ZBC Reporter
PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has directed that schools are now closing on Tuesday the 24th of March 2020 as a precaution against the outbreak and spread of Covid-19 despite the fact that Zimbabwe has not recorded any cases of Covid-19 to date. In a statement released this Thursday evening, President Mnangagwa said the decision follows concerns from parents and the education sector as a whole.
“All schools and tertiary institutions will now close next week and dates for re-opening will be advised once the virus is adjudged to have receded,” reads the statement.
While the President had originally said the school term would be allowed to end normally, he highlighted that the government has seen it prudent to err on the side of caution.
“Government has thought it prudent to err on the side of caution, moreso in respect of teaching institutions where human concentration and contact is expectedly high,” he said.
The statement noted that the closure next Tuesday should allow for an orderly closure of our institutions and for parents to arrange for the safe travel of pupils and students.
The President has since barred gatherings of more than 100 people, including church services, sporting events and weddings for the next 60 days effective this Friday. The annual independence celebrations usually held in April and the Zimbabwe International Trade fair have also been shelved.
He has also declared coronavirus a state of national disaster, giving the Government flexibility to cope effectively and re-channel resources.
Even though there is yet to be a confirmed case in the country, Zimbabwe is putting in place the measures many other countries started implementing after their first cases. Generally the earlier such measures are put in place, the fewer people are infected. The worst outbreaks, in Western Europe, saw infection rates rise rapidly in the early stages as countries tried to carry on as normal. Should Zimbabwe have an outbreak many required measures are already active.
Nearly 220,000 people have now been confirmed with the coronavirus globally, of which at least 84,000 have recovered from COVID-19, while more than 8,800 have died.
By ZBC Reporter