On 17 March 2020, President Emmerson Mnangagwa declared a state of disaster in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The declaration was in terms of section 27 of the Civil Protection Act [Chapter 10:06] and was followed by the imposition of a nationwide lockdown. The declaration allowed the government to make emergency disaster response regulations and allocate financial and human resources to respond to the pandemic. Consequently, the Minister of Health and Child Care acting under section 68 of the Public Health Act [Chapter 15:17], promulgated several regulations to implement public health measures to curb the pandemic. Most important, the Minister of Health and Child Care published the following:
- Statutory Instrument 83 of 2020 – the COVID-19, Prevention, Containment and Treatment) (National Lockdown) (Amendment) Order, 2020 (SI 83/2020), implementing a 21-day lockdown order. Gatherings of more than two people were prohibited, borders were closed and there was an automatic extension of permitted residence of foreign nationals. Airports were closed and restrictions imposed on aerial transportation.
- Statutory Instrument 93 of 2020 – the Public Health (COVID-19, Prevention, Containment and Treatment) (National Lockdown) (Amendment) Order, 2020 (No. 3) (SI 93 of 2020) which extended the period of the lock-down to the 3rd May.
- Statutory Instrument 99 of 2020 – the Public Health (COVID-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment) (National Lockdown) (Amendment) Order, 2020 (No. 5). It has introduced level 2, which is a phased relaxation of the national lockdown effective until 17 May 2020.
The police and the army were deployed to enforce the lockdown. In addition to the national lockdown measures, Government also designed the Zimbabwe Preparedness and Response Plan which outlined how government, line ministries and key institutions would respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. A budget pledge of $20 million was announced, and an economic recovery, stimulus and social package of $18billion dollars towards recovering the economy during the pandemic was also launched. The 18 billion stimulus package will be distributed in the following manner: Agriculture support ($6,08 billion), Working Capital Fund ($3,02 billion), Mining Sector Fund ($1 billion), SME Support Fund ($500 million), Arts Sector Fund ($20 million), Liquidity Release from Statutory Reserves ($2 billion), Health Sector Support Fund ($1 billion), Broad Relief Measures ($1,50 billion), Food Grant ($2,40 billion).
Download full bulletin here (669KB PDF)
Source: Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (HRForum)