Zim extends lockdown by two weeks, allows mining to fully resume

Zimbabwe has extended its lockdown period by another 2 weeks to the 3rd of May but has allowed the mining sector to resume operations.

The first 21-day lockdown for the southern African country was set to end midnight Sunday 19 of April, but has been extended with President Mnangagwa saying the country is yet to meet conditions of lifting the sanctions set by the World Health Organisation.

READ | SPECIAL FEATURE | Inside Zimbabwe’s lockdown

“Infections should be under control for us to consider lifting the lockdown.”

Zimbabwe has 25 confirmed cases and 3 deaths. It has however conducted less than 2 700 tests as at 18 April.

President Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe is yet to achieve optimum capacity to trace, isolate, and treat coronavirus cases.

He however said the mining sector will fully resume while the tobacco selling season will also kick off. The two sectors are Zimbabwe’s biggest forex earners.

Mining workers will have to be screened first and will also have to stay at their workplaces during the extention period.

On the tobacco auctioning President Mnangagwa said sales will have be decentralised from the traditional auction floors.

“The TIMB (Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board) has been consulting our taskforce, and they’ve come to an arrangement where sales will be decentralised to minimise crowding. In the process they’ll observe social distancing and regulate accommodation.”

The manufacturing sector outside essential services, has also been allowed to resume operations “at minimal levels” although details were not provided on how this will be implemented.

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