Covid-19 fourth wave shuts down Zimbabwe courts as cases reach new high

A preacher is disinfected by a health worker, during a burial of a person who died from COVID-19, in Harare, Friday, Jan, 15, 2021. Zimbabwe, battling a spike in new COVID-19 cases, has banned families from transporting their dead relatives between cities, as part of new measures to stop traditional funeral rites that are believed to be increasing the spread of the disease. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)/XTM105/21016607029321//2101161810

HARARE – Sixteen criminal courts were closed across Zimbabwe on Wednesday and Thursday as Covid-19 infections reached record levels.

The Judicial Service Commission (JSC) said the closures were “to allow disinfection of premises, testing and contact tracing” after several members of staff tested positive.

On Wednesday, Zimbabwe reported 4,996 new Covid-19 infections – the highest daily tally since the virus was first detected in March last year. The previous highest was a day earlier on Tuesday – 2,941.

The JSC said the courts that were temporarily closed were the Harare Civil and Criminal courts at Rotten Row, the Tredgold Magistrates Court in Bulawayo and regional courts in Gwanda, Gweru, Plumtree, Mutare, Mbare, Kadoma, Goromonzi, Norton, Rusape, Inyathi, Chegutu, Shurugwi, Chitungwiza and Mutawatawa.

“Business will resume on Friday, December 10.  All matters set down for December 8 are automatically rolled over to Friday, December 10, while those set down for December 9 are automatically rolled over to Monday, December 13,” the JSC said in a statement.

Health minister Constantino Chiwenga last week said Zimbabwe was in the grips of a fourth wave of Covid-19 infections. President Emmerson Mnangagwa on November 30 announced new restrictions for all arrivals, including a mandatory 10-day quarantine but the measures were never implemented.

Despite the spike in infections, deaths have remained low – with two reported on Wednesday. – ZimLive

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