THE government has further tightened the ongoing Covid-19 lockdown, immediately banning all movements and reintroducing exemption letters for those employed in critical sectors of the economy as well as service providers as cases and deaths continue to soar.
Addressing journalists Tuesday during the weekly post-Cabinet media briefing, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said Zimbabwe an increase of 107% in Covid-19 positive cases over the past week.
As a result, the minister said, the issue of exemption letters, used last year for workers travelling to work and others seeking essential services, had reactivated with immediate effect.
“The nation is advised that the exemption mechanisms which were used during the first lockdown in 2020 will be reactivated with immediate effect,” she said.
“Given the above challenges, Cabinet has directed that the Treasury urgently releases the first tranche of $368.2 million it had committed towards funding the enforcement of Level 4 lockdown measures.”
“This will reinforce the current efforts of containing the spread of Covid-19. Stiffer penalties will be imposed for violations of Covid-19 restrictions, including the withdrawal of business operating licences.
“As you might be aware, the entire country is now under Level 4 lockdown, following the surge in Covid-19 cases.”
Mutsvangwa said the worst affected provinces are Mashonaland West recording 2 114 active cases Monday, Mashonaland Central (2 957); Harare Metropolitan (1 041) Mashonaland East (847), and Midlands (848). ■