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Zimbabwe government reduces operations

Amid Covid-19 resurgence.
Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa. Image: Waldo Swiegers, Bloomberg

Zimbabwe’s government scaled down operations amid a second wave of coronavirus infections, with only 10% of its workers available in offices until Feb. 5.

Essential services will be offered by staff exempted from the southern African country’s 30-day lockdown, government spokesman Nick Mangwana said in an interview on Thursday. The remainder who have online access will work from home, he said.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa imposed restrictions, including a dawn-to-dusk curfew, and closed all non-essential businesses on Jan. 3 after a spike in virus-related deaths since December. Officials attribute the increase to citizens visiting from neighboring countries over the festive season. More than 3 million Zimbabweans are estimated to be based in South Africa.

“We cannot shut down government completely, so we have to do our best to ensure government work continues,” Mangwana said. “But we have to minimize contact among workers by taking all possible precautions.”

Zimbabwe had 30,047 reported cases of Covid-19 with 917 deaths as of Jan. 21. Among the fatalities are senior government officials, including former Foreign Affairs Minister Sibusiso Moyo and Ellen Gwaradzimba, the provincial minister for Manicaland.

Thousands of people have been arrested for violating the lockdown and some have been jailed, according to police spokesman Paul Nyathi.

© 2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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