Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa has suspended all public gatherings including church services and sports events after declaring the novel coronavirus a national disaster. Zimbabwe is yet to record any cases of the deadly coronavirus which has since been renamed covid-19 by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The deadly disease has already claimed 7, 019 lives and infected 173, 244 others worldwide.

President Mnangagwa declared the coronavirus pandemic a national disaster and immediately postponed the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) and the 40th Independence Celebrations which were scheduled for Bulawayo in April. Funds initially budgeted for these events will now be diverted to the fight against Covid-19.

The president said that all public gatherings of more than 100 people are suspended for the next 60 days as part of the preventative measures.

The President also announced that Zimbabwe will not impose a travel ban, insisting that all of Zimbabwe’s ports of entry and borders will remain open because none of the country’s neighbours have closed their borders to Zimbabwe.  The government has called on all foreign traveller intending to visit the country to consider postponing their trips for the next 30 days.  Zimbabweans have also been encouraged not to travel.

However, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has refused to close schools despite concerns from teachers.