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COVID-19: Zimbabwe Reopens Tourism, Schools

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) -The Zimbabwean government has re-opened the tourism industry ending a five-months closure as a result of the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The country’s tourism minister recently said the sector has taken a painful nosedive as a result of the pandemic with arrivals expected to falls from around 2.5 million per annum recorded in 2018 to around 900 000 for 2020 as the industry is expected to contract by 7.4 percent.

Covid-19 led to ban on international travel and closure of the hospitality and leisure spots, leading to massive job losses as a result of loss of business.

Tourism is one of the four key economic pillars in Zimbabwe alongside agriculture, mining and manufacturing.

Briefing journalists after a Cabinet meeting, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said even airports will start domestic flights.

“Cabinet has approved resumption of tourism operations including boat operations while modalities for airports re-opening are being finalized,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.

Government in July partially opened the sector when it reopened the Rainforest and allowed restaurants to open for take aways.

Airports and borders had remained closed.

 The partial opening which government said was meant to bolster domestic tourism, had an insignificant effect on the sector as intercity travel also remained prohibited leaving the industry with no clients.

Meanwhile, government has also announced that schools will reopen for the first time since closing in March after the outbreak of the pandemic.

Only classes that will be sitting for final examinations will be reopening, with examinations pushed to start on December 1 instead of the traditional mid-October.

Cambridge classes will open on September 14 while those sitting for Upper Six, Form Four and Grade Seven Zimbabwe School Examination Council examinations will re-open on September 28.

Government is now working on standard operating procedures and infection prevention training for teachers and support staff.

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