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Zimbabwe extends coronavirus lockdown

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President Emmerson Mnangagwa has extended a nationwide lockdown meant to control the spread of COVID-19 and the restrictions will be reviewed every 14 days.

On Saturday Mnangagwa said the measure would remain in place “for an indefinite period”, stating that “the country needs to ease out of the lockdown in a strategic and gradual manner”.

Informal street markets will remain shut while the government consults with health specialists on how to reopen them safely. Meanwhile manufacturers, supermarkets and banks, which have been allowed to continue operating, will see their operating hours extended to more than eight hours between 8am (06:00 GMT) and 4:30pm (14:30 GMT).

Mnangagwa added that all Zimbabwean migrants returning home every week, mainly from South Africa and Botswana, will have to undergo a 21-day quarantine in school and college buildings.

The drastic restrictions have so far worked exceptionally well as coronavirus transmission has not been widespread and numbers remain lower than the initial projections.

Zimbabwe imposed its lockdown on March 30 and has recorded 44 confirmed coronavirus cases and four related deaths.

World Health Organization classified coronavirus transmission in Zimbabwe as “sporadic”, with a low number of cases and no discernible clusters.

“This may suggest that, despite the small numbers tested, our country might have a reduced COVID-19 trajectory,” he said.

Doctors and experts have warned that Zimbabwe’s poorly equipped health service could not cope

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