Zimbabwean schools to open for first term




Costantine Chiwenga

SCHOOLS will open for the first term on Monday February 7 following a decline in Covid-19 cases and deaths recorded countrywide over the past two weeks, Acting President Dr Constantino Chiwenga said yesterday.

Dr Chiwenga also announced that curfew hours had been reviewed to start from midnight to 5.30AM and encouraged businesses to allow all their employees to resume working from their offices.

Restaurants and hotels offering catering services can now operate from 8AM to 10PM.

Bars and nightclubs can also open for vaccinated persons only during the same operating hours as hotels and restaurants.

Quarantine for returning locals has been lifted as long as they are fully vaccinated.

By Wednesday, the average daily Covid-19 infection rate had fallen to 235, still well above the rate seen between waves of infection, but just 15 percent of the 1 500 a day plateau that was prevailing when President Mnangagwa ordered schools not to open.

This is also just 35 percent of the rates that were prevailing when the closure was extended for another two weeks a fortnight ago by Acting President Chiwenga.

At the time, it was made clear that a week’s notice would be given to ensure that all measures required for the safest possible learning environment were fully implemented.

In a statement yesterday, Acting Health and Child Care Minister Professor Amon Murwira said the national Covid-19 epidemic curve is indicating that the fourth wave is at its tail end and appears to have been brought under control.

“The general school calendar starts on 7 February 2022 following one week of finalising all reopening preparations by both school administrators and parents.

The business community to go back to working from their offices whilst continuing to observe Covid-19 prevention measures such as social distancing and also continuing to encourage their employees and patrons to get vaccinated,” said Prof Murwira.

“Curfew shall now begin at midnight and end at 5.30AM.

Restaurants and hotels offering catering services to operate from 8AM and close at 10PM and allow sit-ins only for fully vaccinated persons.”

He said all persons entering Zimbabwe must undergo a valid Covid-19 PCR test not more than 48 hours from the time of their departure for Zimbabwe.

Those without a valid negative PCR test and a certificate to that effect shall be denied entry into Zimbabwe, said Prof Murwira.

He also said quarantine for locals, returning residents and visitors is lifted for those fully vaccinated.

“The wearing of face masks in public places, especially public transport and closed space gatherings, remain mandatory and must be enforced.

Eligible members of the public are encouraged to get vaccinated while the provincial Covid-19 taskforce teams are urged to increase their efforts in mobilising eligible members of the public to get vaccinated.

“The practice of WHO recommended Covid-19 preventive public health and social measures that include washing of hands, sanitising, social distancing, avoiding crowds and gatherings to continue.

All of the measures are subject to periodic review depending on the prevailing Covid-19 situation,” Prof Murwira said. – Business Weekly