Tuesday, 14 July 2020

ED TO TIGHTEN LOCKDOWN, DEFERS SCHOOLS REOPENING


CABINET yesterday deferred the reopening of schools to a later date as President Mnangagwa will soon announce tightened lockdown regulations in view of a spike in local transmissions with Bulawayo among the hotspots.

The country’s confirmed Covid-19 cases reached 1 034 on Monday including 343 recoveries and 19 deaths since March.

Bulawayo has been identified as one of the local transmissions hotspots with Cabinet resolving that more community testing be conducted in the city.

Of the confirmed cases, 725 were imported from countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and America. Returnees from South Africa and Botswana contribute most of the foreign cases while local transmissions cases stand at 309. 

Addressing the 24th post-Cabinet briefing yesterday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said schools will not open on July 28 as was earlier stated.

She said Government will penalise private schools that had already reopened in defiance of lockdown regulations.

“Cabinet is disturbed by the spike in Covid-19 locally transmitted cases and the number of deaths recorded. To curb the increase in transmissions as well as deaths from Covid-19, the following measures were adopted: (a) that the current lockdown restrictions will be tightened, while localised lockdowns are introduced in hotspot areas and further opening up of the economy is halted; (b) that testing in communities with high cases of local transmission such as Bulawayo will be increased,” she said.

“(c) that the re-opening of schools shall be deferred pending a review of the situation, while the writing of public examinations continues; (d) that private schools that have already opened without permission will be penalised.” 

In the past week, the country has recorded increased local transmissions as opposed to what was happening before when confirmed cases were largely imported ones.

Minister Mutsvangwa said Government will be the sole provider for transport for necessary inter-city travellers such as those travelling for medical treatment. She said Government will avail two buses to transport those that test positive from Beitbridge to their respective provincial isolation centres.

Minister Mutsvangwa said Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube is expected to present the approved the 2020 Mid-Term Budget and Economic Review and update on the State of the Financial Sector and Monetary Reforms tomorrow in Parliament. Chronicle

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