Zimbabwe imposes lockdown in Kwekwe where variant detected


HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe has imposed a strict lockdown on the central city of Kwekwe because the COVID-19 variant dominant in India has been detected there.

Activities in Kwekwe, a city of more than 100,000, will be restricted for three weeks starting Friday, according to a notice by the health ministry’s COVID-19 task force.

Health Minister Constantino Chiwenga, who is also Zimbabwe’s vice president, announced earlier this week that the variant had been found in Kwekwe.

The notice said the variant is “localized” in the midlands city and surrounding areas and “linked to a traveler from India.”

Bars and beer taverns have been closed and there is a night curfew from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. The lockdown also bans on public gatherings such as weddings and health officials will supervise all funerals.

Businesses will only be allowed to operate from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., according to the notice.

Zimbabwe has generally eased restrictions nationwide after the rate of infections started slowing following after a devastating resurgence in December and January.

The southern African country of 15 million people has recorded 38,635 confirmed cases, including 1,585 deaths by May. 20, according to health ministry figures.

The country has vaccinated 615,296 people with a first dose of vaccines, mainly the Chinese Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines, while 252,100 had received a second dose, according to official figures.

No posts to display