Only civil servants providing essential services to report for work in Zimbabwe as COVID-19 cases rise

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In Zimbabwe, Basic commodities are scarce in the shops, yet readily available on the black market Image courtesy
Medical workers carry boxes of wheelchairs at Health Point Upper East Medical Center in Harare, Zimbabwe, on July 17, 2020. Three Chinese firms operating in Zimbabwe have teamed up with a local medical institution to establish a COVID-19 treatment and isolation center in the country. (Photo by Chen Yaqin/Xinhua)

The Zimbabwe government has ordered that only civil servants providing essential services should report for work, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise and surpassed 1,700 on Monday.

The government also closed down the Chinhoyi University of Technology – about 120 km north-west of Harare – after a lecturer tested positive for COVID-19, the government-controlled Herald newspaper reported Tuesday.

The country recorded the 26th death from COVID-19 on Monday.

Of the 1,713 cases reported since the first COVID-19 case in the country on March 20, the majority (872) are local infections while the rest was imported, especially from South Africa.

Speaking after a meeting of the national COVID-19 taskforce, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the two decisions were a reaction to the rising number of local infections and deaths.

“The taskforce directed that only those civil servants who were approved by the Public Service Commission to provide essential service should report for work, with the rest remaining in lockdown.

“The taskforce also received a presentation on the distribution of local positive cases across the country, which cannot be linked to an identifiable source. While these positive cases are dotted throughout the country, they are mostly concentrated in Bulawayo and Harare,” she said.

The closure of Chinhoyi University of Technology followed standard policy, she added.

“Following the recorded infection at the Chinhoyi University of Technology and in line with the guidelines for the re-opening of universities and colleges, the taskforce resolved that the said institution undertake all necessary and sensible steps to close,” she said.

Mutsvangwa said the country remained under lockdown and as such the government would continue to provide food to the vulnerable and those who had been severely affected economically.

China was also providing assistance by sinking boreholes in Masvingo and Manicaland provinces with priority being given to schools, she said.

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