By ZBC Reporter
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa this Tuesday tightened lockdown measures to deal with the threat of the fourth wave of Covid-19 infections driven by the new Omicron variant and complacency and returning residents and visitors are now required to undergo mandatory quarantine upon entry into the country.
Curfew hours have been reviewed to 9 pm to 6 am, while business hours are enforced from 7 am to 7 pm.
The President reiterated that the measures are simply a continuation of present regulations with more compliance demanded.
WHO guidelines at social gatherings, allowing only the fully vaccinated into restaurants and bars, banning drinking at bottle stores, and full compliance with masking, sanitising, social distancing and other public health measures are to be observed.
“What raises our concern, and adds to our anxieties, is the outbreak of a new strain, Omicron, detected and reported in neighbouring countries only a few days ago. We face a new, added risk, which compounds the burden we already face and shoulder from known variants we have been grappling with since the outbreak of the pandemic.
“It is in view of this new, ominous development that Government has decided on new, enhanced measures to strengthen our national response, and to protect our nation from the impact of a likely fourth wave, which the new variant, Omicron, will most certainly aggravate.
“All Covid-19 related funerals must be strictly supervised by the Ministry of Health and Child Care and environmental health officers and technicians. Longer curfew, tighter border controls and stricter adherence to public health advice are needed to protect the nation from the impact of a likely fourth wave,” said the President.
“All returning residents and visitors have to undergo PCR testing, and will be quarantined, at their own cost, for days recommended by WHO, even if they present negative PCR test results from elsewhere. A daily curfew, running from 9 pm to 6 am, will be imposed to limit movement and hence
only essential services categories announced in previous gazettes stand exempt. All shops will open for business from 7 am and will close for business by 7 pm.”
With regards to bars and nightclubs, only vaccinated patrons will be admitted while no liquor will be consumed at bottle stores. This has been the rule but enforcement has been minimal with people allowed into bars and restaurants without presenting vaccination cards, and public drinking in the vicinity of bottle stores.
President Mnangagwa said the country had done a lot to contain the pandemic with notable success and called upon Zimbabweans to remain vigilant.
“Today we are counted among leaders when it comes to best preventive and curative practices. The above good progress notwithstanding, lately we have witnessed creeping complacency in most communities. Some individuals and groups are simply lowering their guard when it comes to measures we have recommended for Covid-19 prevention.
“Complacency is likely to get worse as the festive season approaches. Our nation thus faces the grim risk of a fourth wave which must be avoided at all cost.”