Zimbabwe Covid-19 lockdown: Govt bans all sporting activities

Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation Minister Kirsty Coventry

ZIMBABWE’S government has for the second time banned all sporting activities after the announcement of 30 days of lockdown regulations following an increase of coronavirus infections during the festive season.

Vice president Constantino Chiwenga, who is also the health minister, late Saturday announced fresh lockdown regulations following a spike in coronavirus cases across the country.

“Gatherings are reduced to not more than 30 people at all funerals,” Chiwenga told reporters in the capital, Harare.

“All other gatherings at weddings, churches, bars, bottle stores, gymnasium, restaurants are banned for 30 days. Restaurants, bottle stores and bars are closed for 30 days except for bars and restaurants serving hotel residents.”

Essential services such as hospitals, pharmacies, and supermarkets, with only essential staff are allowed to open.

After Chiwenga’s pronouncement, the country’s sporting regulator, the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC), fresh ban on all sporting activities pending a review on January 31.

“In light of the additional lockdown measures announced this 2nd January 2021 by the Vice President Chiwenga who is also responsible for the Ministry of Health, the Sports and Recreation Commission in consultation with the Ministry of Sport (Kirsty) Coventry has with immediate effect suspended all sporting activities in Zimbabwe subject to review on the 31st of January, 2021,”the SRC board said in a statement on Saturday evening.

The SRC, however, added that sporting associations would need to resubmit applications to resume their activities during the new lockdown measures.

“Any exceptions will be dealt with on a case by case basis subject to the receipt of a new application from the sporting discipline concerned. Violations of the directive will be prosecuted,” SRC said.

SRC’s new directive comes after nine players and five officials in the Warriors camp for African Nations Championships (CHAN) tested positive for the virus last week ahead of the finals which get underway in Cameroon on January 16.

The new ban is a major blow for various sporting disciplines who were hoping for a return to normalcy after spending most of last year on the sidelines due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some of the team sports that have been allowed to return include netball, handball, cricket and hockey along a number of individual sport codes but they will need to seek new approval to resume activities after the fresh ban.

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