Friday, 20 March 2020


THE Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) says it will ensure President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s decree banning gatherings of more than 100 people is religiously followed by “conducting patrols, surveillance and checks to ensure compliance,” as the threat of coronavirus mounts after neighbouring countries South Africa and Zambia recorded cases of the pandemic.

South Africa has so far recorded 118 confirmed cases, while Zambia has two.
 The police warning comes after Mnangagwa yesterday launched a national awareness and preparedness campaign in which he indicated that “it was not business as usual because the virus is coming to Zimbabwe”.

“In view of the coronavirus pandemic and the measures put in place by the government of Zimbabwe and ZRP will ensure that all government directives and regulations meant to step up the safety and security of citizens are prioritised.

“The ZRP is working closely with relevant arms of government and appeals for co-operation from members of the public.

“The government’s ban of 100 or more people be it at church, music, soccer and any other gatherings should therefore be observed. Police are conducting patrols, surveillance and checks to ensure compliance,” said the ZRP in a statement yesterday.

Speaking at State House in Harare, Mnangagwa warned that the virus was heading to Zimbabwe.

“This is an issue of a serious disease which we can’t afford to ignore. In the last few weeks, we have had a dramatic decline in economic activities with our major trading partners.

“Indeed, this pandemic surpasses all that we experienced in Zimbabwe. In the Sadc region, seven countries out of 16 have confirmed cases of coronavirus.

“As Zimbabwe, we cannot continue with business as usual as it is no longer a matter of if, but when our country will have this disease, considering the scale and the magnitude of the spread of this virus. It is very clear that no country is immune to the disease or will be spared of its impact.

“With our HIV prevalence rate of 14 percent in Zimbabwe or slightly below, malnutrition and other non-communicable diseases among children, we are deeply concerned about the impact Covid-19 could have on the country. This situation is a real threat to all the citizens of our mother country,” said Mnangagwa.

Mnangagwa said the national emergency preparedness and response mechanism and early detection of possible cases was activated and will remain active until after the World Health Organisation removed the global health alert.

“There is no confirmed case yet in Zimbabwe but considering the volume of traffic between Zimbabwe and other countries in our region and internationally, we need to step up and enhance our preparedness. This calls for extraordinary measures and responses.

“So far, the pandemic has largely affected countries with advanced health systems.

“They also struggled to control this pandemic. Lessons learnt from China have shown that doing the right things at the right place and at the right time is critical in controlling the coronavirus.”

He said the country’s preparedness measures have been stepped up through heightened surveillance systems at national, provincial and district level with special focus an all ports of entry.

“Mandatory screening of all visitors entering through our ports of entry has started and all our government buildings and structures should be screened with immediate effect.

“We call upon all stakeholders to contribute to this national cause, this call to action, every sector and individual must be involved in this national response to Covid-19.

The current circumstances require extraordinary measures to curb the spread of infections. Together, we will overcome this global health challenge. We have the knowledge, the means and the resources to fight this disease. If we act swiftly, collectively, we can limit the effects of coronavirus.”

Mnangagwa added that all Zimbabweans must put aside their differences to fight the coronavirus epidemic.

“As enshrined in our Constitution, our major priority is to safeguard the health of all Zimbabweans regardless of gender, religion, age or political persuasion.

“I strongly believe that we can continue to act together and put our differences aside to do the right things … we will overcome the Covid-19.” Daily News


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