Zimbabwe announces cap of 100 people for all public gatherings

The government issued a new clarification on Monday over public gatherings, days after ministers were seen at a birthday party which apparently was illegal under existing Covid-19 regulations.

Following a cabinet meeting in Harare on Tuesday, information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said they had lifted a categorisation of public gatherings which allowed different limits on attendees.

“Cabinet noted that the different numbers specified for various types of gatherings caused general confusion and violations. Henceforth, the number of people permitted at any gathering is restricted to 100, irrespective of what the gathering is being convened for,” Mutsvangwa told journalists.

Previously, churches were limited to 100 people and funerals 50 while all other gatherings including political rallies and birthday parties were prohibited.

There was a public outcry on Saturday after Mutsvangwa hosted a lavish 60th birthday party, attended by several ministers. The event broke existing government guidelines, and in trying to justify the event government spokesman Ndavaningi Mangwana said the event had been attended by less than 50 people.

Under the new guidelines, all gatherings are allowed as long as they are attended by less than 100 people and follow existing protocols about social distancing, the wearing of masks and personal hygiene.

Meanwhile, the government has extended open hours for restaurants from 6.30PM to 8PM.

“Restaurant operators are called upon to strictly observe these hours of operation, ensure Covid-19 prevention protocols and guidelines,” Mutsvangwa said.

Mutsvangwa said the government was concerned at the rising numbers of Covid-19 cases which have increased sharply, partly fuelled by virus outbreaks at schools.

Covid-19 cases breached 10,000 for the first time on Monday. As at November 30, 10,034 cases including 277 deaths had been reported.


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