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Kwekwe put under lockdown to contain Indian Covid-19 variant

by Staff reporter
21 May 2021 at 19:21hrs | Views
A localised lockdown has been ordered for Kwekwe to contain the spread of the Indian variant of the coronavirus.

A resident of the Midlands city died on May 12 days after returning from India, and on Wednesday the government confirmed that the variant, which scientists say is 50 percent more transmissible, was now in Zimbabwe.

At least 11 contacts of the dead man, mainly family members, have tested positive for the virus.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the National and District Covid-19 Taskforce working with Kwekwe District Rapid Response Team said with effect from Friday, May 21, the Zimbabwe Republic Police will take charge in enforcing stricter localised lockdown measures.

"The district has to go into lockdown for three weeks with effective curfew running from 7PM to 6AM…," the statement said.

Shops will only open between 8AM and 5PM while bars, sit-in restaurants and liquor stores are to remain closed.

All quarantine, isolation and treatment centres in Kwekwe have been activated with immediate effect, including Bell Medical Centre in Redcliff, Kwekwe General Hospital and Kwekwe City Isolation Disease Hospital.

Measures outlined in the statement also include a boarding school visit ban and heightened enforcement of Covid-19 protocols in all day schools.

All public gatherings in the district have been banned with funerals limited to only 30 people who are to be supervised by health workers.

ZUPCO buses are to reduce the number of passengers while people's market operations will be scaled down. The taskforce also resolved to scale up testing and contact tracing.

Zimbabwe reported 23 new cases and two deaths in Masvingo and Midlands provinces on Thursday. To date, the country has seen 38,635 coronavirus cases which resulted in 1,585 deaths.

The Indian B.1.617 variant of the coronavirus was first detected in October 2020.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) classified the variant as a "variant of concern" as it spreads faster and has a higher ability to evade the body's natural defences.

The B.1.617 variant is currently behind the ballooning coronavirus infections and deaths in India and has been detected in more than 40 countries worldwide.

Source - zimlive

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