By Bernard Mpofu
The government has been forced to extend a localised lockdown in Kwekwe by another two weeks following a spike in Covid-19 infections, including the highly contagious B.1.617 variant first detected in India.
Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who doubles as Health and Child Care minister, initially imposed a two-week lockdown in the Midlands city after Zimbabwe’s first case of the Indian variant was detected in Kwekwe last month.
The cases that stood at 10 when the lockdown was first imposed have since shot up to 74 in two weeks, hence the extension of the movement restrictions.
Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa, told journalists on 8 June 2021 that Cabinet resolved to extend the lockdown after noting the increase in the number of infections, including an outbreak at a Kwekwe children’s home.
“A total of 27 new cases have been confirmed from 56 residents tested at Maryward Children’s Home and Secondary School in Kwekwe District,” Mutsvangwa said.
“The nation is informed that Cabinet has approved that the lockdown in Kwekwe be extended by a further two weeks.
“The development comes in the wake of a surge in positive cases in Kwekwe, which to date has 74 cumulative cases, 70 active cases, three recoveries and one death.
“It is highlighted that the Indian variant has been detected in some of the new cases.”
The lockdown restrictions include a curfew running from 7pm to 6am, banning of visitors at all boarding schools, and closing of bars and bottle stores.
Zimbabwe also introduced tough regulations for people travelling from or transiting from India, who now face mandatory quarantine at a designated quarantine centre at their own cost.
Those put under mandatory quarantine for 10 days will stay at hotels designated by the government at their own expense.
As of June7, Zimbabwe had recorded 39,238 Covid-19 cases with 36,746 recoveries and 1,611 deaths.
At least 96.2 percent of the Covid-19 cases are attributed to local transmissions.