In the pursuit of mitigating the spread of the novel coronavirus, Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa this evening announced a curfew which begins at 6pm and ends at 6am.

The septuagenarian’s new measures, announced in an address to the nation at State House late Tuesday has widely been dismissed by critics as measure to curb the impending mass demonstrations slated for July 31.

Conservatives however contend that the strict measures are in sync with a corresponding surge in Covid19 cases in the country.

We publish Mnangagwa’s full speech of his address to the nation below:

Fellow Zimbabweans,
I address you once again to share and give an update on where our Nation stands in the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Worldwide, confirmed Coronavirus infections continue to increase, with over 600,000 lives lost to date. Global recoveries from the virus stand at slightly over 8,1 million, up from over 6,8million recorded up to last week.

On our African continent, cases of infections are rising at an alarming pace. By yesterday, Africa had recorded over 721,000 cases, up from 443,412 recorded cases from the previous week.

More than 15,100 deaths have been reported so far, with recoveries at 380,253 cases.

Our country, as of this morning, had recorded 1,713 cases, up from 985 cases recorded by last week. This means the number of positive cases increased by over 600 in just one week. During the same period, the number of deaths rose from 18 to 26. Meanwhile, recoveries rose from 328 to 472 in the same week.

However, for the first time local transmissions now exceed imported cases, the former standing at 872, and the latter at 841. Another worrisome development is that more and more, cases of local transmissions are being reported at places of work. Covid-19 is thus no longer a problem out there, far and beyond our borders; rather, it is now here amongst us and in our communities.

South Africa, which is both our neighbour and our major trading partner, ranks fifth globally on number of infections, after the United States of America, Brazil, India and Russia. The affinities and intense, multi-layered interactions between our two countries mean we have a very serious situation on our doorstep.

This is coupled with an upsurge recorded in all our other neighbouring states.

Therefore, this sobering reality means that we can no longer be complacent, and that requires urgent and decisive measures.

Fellow Zimbabweans,

These urgent and necessary measures will entail curtailing the freedoms we have always enjoyed, and had grown accustomed to. From now on, these freedoms stand suspended and deferred, in the interest of all of us; indeed in the interest of our children and our Nation which must survive, thrive and prosper beyond this pandemic.

No responsible Government places its citizens in harm’s way, hence my Government will do all it can to preserve and protect THE RIGHT TO LIFE.

Accordingly, Government has decided on the following measures which take full effect from tomorrow, Wednesday 22 July 2020, until further review and notice:

1–All non-working sections of our population will be required to stay at home; except for purposes of securing food, water and health services.
Where travel and social contact becomes essential and inevitable, every Zimbabwean should and must uphold the four requirements set out by the World Health Organization, W.H.O., which are:
a–Wearing masks or equivalent protective materials;
b–Observing strict standards of hygiene, including the washing of hands or use of sanitizers;
c–Mandatory screening in all public places and buildings;
d–Social distancing in all public places and at all times;

2–With effect from tomorrow Wednesday 22 July 2020, all business premises must operate from 0800HRS until 1500HRS, with the exception of providers of essential services.

3–As of tomorrow Wednesday 22 July 2020, all our Security Services must enforce a dusk-to-dawn curfew set to come into force daily between 1800HRS and 0600HRS. Only essential services are exempt from this curfew.

4–All business operations and premises are required to observe and enforce World Health organisation anti-Covid-19 standards which include observing social distance at workplaces, wearing of masks at all times, regular screenings and strict hygienic standards at workplaces;

5–Only registered SMES which have been allocated workspaces will be allowed to operate, and must comply with the parameters and protocols set by the World Health Organisation.

6–Our food markets will remain open and operational, and must observe set measures, rules and requirements meant to uphold public health. Suppliers to markets should be facilitated to reach the markets, including by our Security Forces;

7–Inter-city/town public transport and inessential transport to all rural areas remain banned.

8–All approved buses and vehicles for public transport should ensure and enforce public health standards, including the screening of passengers before boarding, and the disinfecting of all public vehicles after each round trip;

9–Public gatherings for social, religious or political purposes remain banned. Funeral gatherings remain curtailed, in line with public health requirements.

10–Desertion from places of quarantine by returnees and infected persons, resulting in the exposure of innocent lives to the virus will be considered a criminal act and invite very robust response from our law and public health-enforcement arms.

11–Anyone who knowingly exposes, aids, abets, or infects innocent persons, whether by breaching conditions of isolation or by encouraging actions which undermine public health measures which Government has announced or undertaken, will be liable, and severely punished accordingly.

My Fellow Zimbabweans,

These measures are being taken for our collective safety. As Zimbabweans, we have to win the war against the Covid-19 pandemic. We must minimize loss of lives.

I, as your President, will come back to you to announce the easing of these public health measures, once the situation has improved. Let all of us, for now, unreservedly comply with these measures.

Together in unity, love and a shared sense of responsibility, we shall overcome and save ourselves, our families and our Nation.

God bless Zimbabwe.

I thank you.