Zimbabwe first imposed a 30-day nationwide lockdown on Jan. 5, 2021 following a spike in COVID-19 cases, and further extended it to Feb. 15, as the nation battled to contain the second wave of the pandemic.
“In the coming week, I will be announcing how we are proceeding with regards to the lockdown,” he said during a virtual meeting with members of the Political Actors Dialogue (POLAD).
“This will be informed by scientific data and recommendations from our health experts.” POLAD comprises the ruling ZANU-PF party and other smaller political parties and individuals that participated in the 2018 presidential elections and is aimed at finding solutions to economic and political problems afflicting the country.
Mnangagwa said the number of new infections and deaths had been receding over the past two weeks, adding that the pandemic has dealt a major blow to the government which has to date lost five ministers and several other senior officials to the disease. The country has to date recorded 34,949 COVID-19 cases, with 1,382 deaths.
More than half of the total number of infections and deaths were recorded in January alone. Mnangagwa said as the nation waits to receive the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines from China next Monday, it must not lower its guard against the disease.
“In spite of this development, we should never drop our guard. The December 2020 to mid-January 2021 infection spikes taught us that we must remain vigilant and alert for our own safety and that of others,” he said.
The Zimbabwean government has said that it will prioritize frontline health care workers, the elderly and those with underlying conditions for vaccination, and is targeting to inoculate at least 60 percent of the population.