Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Zimbabwe extend existing nationwide lockdown through at least May 4 due to COVID-19 activity.

This alert affects Zimbabwe

This alert began 19 Apr 2020 16:33 GMT and is scheduled to expire 05 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Affected Area(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 4
  • Impact: Significant business and travel disruptions; increased security

Summary
The Zimbabwean government extended the existing nationwide lockdown through at least May 4 as part of its efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The lockdown, which was initially imposed March 30, includes the suspension of all public activities and closure of nonessential businesses.

Other provisions within the order include:

  • All residents required to remain at home unless obtaining or providing essential goods or services, or seeking medical help or emergency assistance;
  • Government employees and health workers are exempt from the lockdown;
  • Formal markets to open for only four hours daily;
  • All businesses to close, unless involved in manufacturing, supplying, or providing essential goods or services;
  • All public transport services suspended, with the exception of services operated by the state-owned Zimbabwe United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) and government workers' buses;
  • Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) to deploy to assist in enforcement.


Zimbabwean authorities suspended all inbound and outbound commercial air travel, and closed all land borders to passenger traffic indefinitely on March 23. Cargo and freight shipments remain unaffected. All public events and gatherings were banned for 60 days starting March 16. Other social distancing measures are also in place. Further restrictions are likely in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
Zimbabwe's travel restrictions and preventive measures correspond with similar actions other governments are taking globally in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
World Health Organisation: www.who.int

Ministry of Health: www.mohcc.gov.zw

Ministry of Health, Social Media Feed (Daily Updates): twitter.com/MoHCCZim