Government of Zimbabwe has expressed grave concern about the growing number of Covid-19 cases in the country, which are being driven by the Omicron variant, and has announced plans to prohibit unvaccinated people from using public transport.
“Cabinet notes with concern that there has been a sharp increase in the average total number of new cases reported per day during the past two weeks,” as a result, the government will increase vaccination and tighten measures to combat the virus’s spread, said Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa at a post-cabinet media briefing on Tuesday.
Covid daily cases have increased exponentially over the last week, rising from 40 on November 28 to 2,555 on Monday, according to the Xinhua news agency.
Mutsvangwa stated that the government will set up vaccination stations at the main intra-city and inter-city bus terminals to ensure that those who have not been vaccinated can receive vaccine shots voluntarily before boarding.
Those who do not have a valid vaccination card will eventually be denied access to public transportation, she said, adding that the ministries of health and education will continue to collaborate on the vaccination of 16-17 year olds in schools.
According to official data, the country’s total Covid-19 cases stood at 141,601 as of Monday, with 128,966 recoveries and 4,713 deaths. A total of 3,882,255 people have had their first jab and 2,892,366 people have had their second jab. Zimbabwe aims to immunise 60% of the population by the end of the year.
Since the discovery of the Omicron variant in the country, the government has mandated that all returning residents and visitors, regardless of test results, undergo PCR testing and quarantine at their own expense.
The curfew has been extended to begin at 9 p.m. until 6 a.m. Alcohol is not permitted in bottle stores, and only vaccinated customers are permitted in nightclubs and bars.