The Zimbabwean government on Friday extended the one-month nationwide COVID-19 lockdown by another two weeks to Feb. 15.
Vice President Constantino Chiwenga announced the extension in a televised address to the nation.
He said the extension was ordered by President Emmerson Mnangagwa who is currently on leave.
Chiwenga said the extension will enable the country to consolidate gains made so far in fighting the pandemic.
“The level 4 national lockdown that came into force on the 5th of January 2021 has stabilized our situation. In relative terms and since the lockdown, the number of infections has been decreasing substantially,” Chiwenga said.
Zimbabwe has seen its COVID-19 cases more than double since the beginning of this year to 32,646 as of Jan. 28, with deaths also increasing three-fold to 1,160 from 369 as of Jan. 1, as the nation grapples with a second wave of the pandemic.
“It is in light of this that President Mnangagwa has decided to extend the level 4 national lockdown by another two weeks to the 15th of February 2021,” Chiwenga said.
He said there was a likelihood of new strains and variants of COVID-19 in the country, adding that Zimbabwe was currently doing genomic sequencing to determine if these strains are indeed in the country.
“Results will be published as soon as we have them,” he said.
He also reiterated that the nation will soon be bringing in vaccines against COVID-19, with a roll-out plan and deployment strategy being finalized.
“The nation will be kept informed on all these developments,” he added. – Xinhua