THE total lockdown to contain the spread of Covid-19 started at midnight with the Government passionately calling on citizens to comply with the directive and instructions from security personnel deployed to enforce the law.
This comes as thousands of residents across the country yesterday swamped retail shops and other essential service providers to stock groceries and other necessities ahead of the lockdown.
President Mnangagwa on Friday announced that the country will go into a 21-day lockdown to manage the pandemic which is spreading and killing thousands of people globally.
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Mr Nick Mangwana told Sunday News yesterday that the lockdown will come into effect at midnight today.
“The date of the lockdown is 30 March 2020, this means it will start at 00:00 hours on Monday morning, the same way you celebrate New Year at midnight of the New Year’s Eve is the same way we start at midnight,” said Mr Mangwana.
He said during the lockdown all supermarkets would be open to ensure that the food value chain is functional.
Mr Mangwana also said journalists would be allowed to operate to ensure that the country is kept up to date with information.
“There are essential services like the media that have a major role to play of informing the public,” he said.
Workers manning other essential services, including health services and outlets, as well as operation of key utilities like power and water would also be allowed to be operational.
“In addition, civil servants on duty, in line with decisions and directives of the Public Service Commission (PSC), heads of ministries and the ad-hoc taskforce on Covid-19, will be allowed unrestricted movement.
Other measures that must be adhered to during the lockdown include a limit of 50 people for funerals.
Visits to clinics and hospitals would also remain restricted to one visitor per patient per day while motorists seeking fuel would not be allowed to leave their vehicles. By yesterday, police said they had started deploying officers to ensure that people observe the lockdown.
National Police spokesman Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi said police will vigilantly monitor the situation.
“We are already on implementation phase, by today (yesterday) officers were being deployed at highways, all point of entries, shopping centres and at places where people are most likely to take advantage of the situation to disregard the lockdown,” said Asst Comm Nyathi.
He called on members of the public to take the lockdown seriously and avoid attempting to disregard it as officers will be in place to arrest such individuals.