Zimbabwe has halted further reopening of the economy and deferred the resumption of schools amid a spike in COVID-19 infections, a minister said Tuesday.
Lockdown restrictions will be tightened, through such measures as introducing localized lockdowns in hotspot areas to curb the further spread of the virus, Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa told a post-cabinet press briefing.
Reopening of schools, formerly scheduled for July 28, has also been deferred pending a review of the situation, she said.
Mid-year public examinations that started last month will continue as per schedule while private schools that have already opened without government permission will be penalized, she said.
Inter-city public transport that had been banned since introduction of a nationwide lockdown in March will partly resume operation under the sole responsibility of the government and only for essential travel such as seeking medical treatment, the minister said.
The government, she said, will send two buses to ferry people who test positive from the border town of Beitbridge to provincial isolation centers. The majority of the country’s imported cases are found in Zimbabweans who returned from neighboring South Africa through the Beitbridge border post.
A total of 1,064 cases were reported as of Tuesday with 20 deaths and 343 recoveries. Of the total, 740 are imported cases while 324 are local transmissions.
“Cabinet is disturbed by the spike in COVID-19 locally transmitted cases and the number of deaths,” Mutsvangwa said.
She added that President Emmerson Mnangagwa will soon announce comprehensive measures in response to rising cases.