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27 Mar 2020 | 01:43 PM UTC

Zimbabwe: Government to impose nationwide lockdown for 21 days from March 30 /update 3

Government to impose nationwide lockdown for 21 days from March 30 due to COVID-19; adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities



On Friday, March 27, President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced that starting on Monday, March 30, a nationwide lockdown will be in effect across Zimbabwe for 21 days to prevent further spread of the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). State and health workers are exempt from the lockdown. During the lockdown all informal markets will be closed and formal markets will only be open for four hours daily; exemptions will be made for food markets, pharmaceutical businesses, and other essential businesses. All public transport, except Zupco, will be suspended; mass transport operations will be suspended, except for employees in essential services. President Mnangagwa stated that security forces will be deployed to enforce the lockdown.

On Monday, March 23, the country closed its borders to foreign nationals and authorities banned gatherings of more than 50 people.

To date, there have been five confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Zimbabwe, including one associated fatality. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the coming days and weeks.  


The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.


Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.