Zimbabwe’s nationwide lockdown, intended to control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been extended indefinitely.

President, Emmerson Mnangagwa, highlighted that the country needed to ease out of the lockdown “in a strategic and gradual manner”.

Street markets will remain shut while the government consults health specialists on how to reopen them safely. The restrictions will be revised every two weeks.

Mnangagwa explained that the WHO had classified coronavirus transmission in Zimbabwe as "sporadic", with a low number of cases and no discernible clusters. "This may suggest that, despite the small numbers tested, our country might have a reduced COVID-19 trajectory," he said.

 

Meanwhile, post-COVID-19 tourism recovery consultations have begun. Minister of Environment, Climate Change, Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu, emphasised the need to have a three-phase approach beginning with growing domestic tourism, regional tourism and the international market.

“Obviously, we are expecting that international tourism will take some time to recover and we are looking at domestic tourism as an immediate source of relief,” said the Minister at a meeting of the country’s tourism sector on May 19. “We were able to look at critical issues that are inhibiting the growth of domestic tourism. He said the ministry was looking at opening airports for international flights as a medium- to long-term strategy, and spoke of restoring the tourism industry to a better position than before the pandemic.

Stakeholders in the meeting agreed on the need for timely disbursement of the ZWD500m (€1.26m) stimulus package from the government.