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Christmas under threat as Covid-19 cases gallop

HORIZONTAL

Surge in new infections dampens festive spirit

By Nkosana Dlamini

Renewed surge in fresh Covid-19 cases, coupled with the emergence of a hostile Omicron strain and tough new containment measures by government, has thrown preparations for the festive period in disarray for many Zimbabweans, both home and abroad.

After an inspiring tail off in Covid-19 cases past few months allowed government to make gradual relaxation of lockdown measures, the current situation does not look any encouraging at all as cases begin to gallop.

The country’s new infections spiked Wednesday, with 712 new cases reported by the health ministry.

This was the highest since the 958 declared on August 17 before infections slowed.

HORIZONTAL

Health authorities said 52 people are hospitalised, although there were no deaths recorded.

Of the 712 cases, 104 were at schools and colleges.

Brenda Sithole, a Zimbabwean based in Pretoria, South Africa says she has abandoned plans to return home for Christmas after authorities have imposed a mandatory 10-day quarantine period for returning locals.

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“My holiday is short. I cannot come all the way from South Africa to be confined in a quarantine centre for 10 days, even worse, at my expense,” she told Zimstar News.

“I would rather remain here in South Africa this time and see where the wind blows.”

Courage Mpini, a Zimbabwean living in Harare also feels he has to change plans for Christmas.

“The situation looks uncertain. This is not just about the government coming up with restrictions but us as individuals coming up with our own ways to stay out of trouble.

“Covid-19 killed a lot of people in the last festive season and this is time to become wiser,” he says.

Mpini, a forex dealer, was planning to take his family to Kariba over the festive period.

Moreso, his love for night life in Harare could be curtailed as government has increased curfew hours.

Under the new measures, curfew hours have been increased to run from 9 pm to 6 am, no alcohol will be consumed at bottle stores while night clubs and bars will admit vaccinated clients only.

Covid-19 related funerals will be supervised by health authorities while restaurants now close at 7 pm while all returning residents and visitors will undergo PCR testing and quarantine at their own costs.

The new measures are also bad news for musicians who survive on night shows in different night spots throughout the country.

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