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Zimbabwe Relaxes COVID-19 Lockdown

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(AFRICAN EXAMINER)-Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa chose his 78th birthday to lift ban on inter-city travel and extend business operating hours from the 8am-4.30pm range to 6am-6.30pm range, as the Southern African country slowly reopens in the wake of Covid-19 lockdown.

President Mnangagwa turned 78 on Tuesday.

The lifting of ban on intercity travel is meant to allow Cambridge examination classes that opened school this week and those sitting for Upper Six, Form Four and Grade Seven Zimbabwe School Examination Council examinations who will re-open on September 28 to travel to school.

It is also meant to capacitate domestic tourism by allowing easy movement of people to resorts.

In a congratulatory message, Chief Secretary to the Cabinet Dr Misheck Sibanda said Zimbabwe continues to scale new heights in entrenching unity, peace and stability under Mnangagwa.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information Nick Mangwana said relaxing lockdown rules was a perfect present for the national by the President.

“From the 15th of September President Mnangagwa’s birthday, shops and supermarkets will now be closing at 6.30pm. Cabinet has approved the resumption of intercity travel to facilitate the movement of examination candidates, citizens and tourism,” said Mangwana.

However, transporters will be compelled to apply to the Ministry of Transport and comply with Covid-19 protocols to be allowed to carry people between towns.

Intercity travelling had been restricted since March when the country introduced national lockdown which had now reached close to six months.

Only government Zupco buses were allowed to transport people within towns and occasionally make long routes between towns.

After recently opening the tourism industry and allowing airlines to resume flights, there was concern about intercity travel which had remained banned.

A number of restrictions have been removed with alcohol consumption now allowed at liquor licensed premises such as hotels, airports, houseboat, restaurants and members clubs between 8am and 4.30pm.

Borders remain closed.

Meanwhile, this is the third year running where Zimbabweans have celebrated a president’s birthday without a bash.

During former president Mugabe era, 21 February was a national holiday and the national would celebrate with a national party whose hosting was rotated by all the country’s 10 provinces, with a cake as huge as the size of ordinary size coffin.


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