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Zimbabwe orders total lockdown

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Five confirmed coronavirus cases, including one death

HARARE – Zimbabwe will impose a nationwide lockdown for 21 days from Monday to help curb the spread of the coronavirus and security forces could be deployed to enforce it, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Friday.

Only state and health workers on duty will be exempted from the lockdown, while funeral gatherings should not involve more than 50 people, the 76-year-old president said in a live television broadcast.

“Some of the measures will be drastic and are sure to upset the daily routines of our lives,” Mnangagwa said.

Zimbabwe has reported five confirmed coronavirus cases, including one death, though the opposition and other critics accuse the government of understating the true figures and of dragging its feet in taking necessary action to halt the spread of the disease.

Last week Mnangagwa announced measures to curb the movement of people, but it has largely been business as usual in Zimbabwe so far, with informal markets and businesses remaining open and public transport continuing to operate.

Earlier, a Zimbabwean billionaire offered health workers new support, including life insurance and cash, after nurses and some doctors walked out over a lack of protective clothing for treating people with coronavirus.