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PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa has relaxed level four lockdown restrictions to level two, which will see resumption of intercity travel and extended business operating hours.

Under the level two lockdown restrictions, ordinary businesses will open from 8am to 7pm while curfew will start at 10pm and end at 5:30am.

Restaurants and bars within hotels and lodges have been allowed to operate between 8am and 10pm.

Mnangagwa also increased the number of people allowed at a public gathering to 100.

Addressing the nation on the new measures, Mnangagwa said the decline in COVID-19 cases and deaths proved that the government’s public health and social measures including lockdowns, were effective.

He said the new lockdown measures would be further reviewed after two weeks.

Government imposed level four lockdown in June following a surge in COVID-19 infections and deaths amid the third wave of the pandemic.

”Fellow Zimbabweans the last two weeks  have seen our  nation record a further  marked reduction in new COVID 19 cases from a weekly average  of 2 564 in the second week of August 2021 to the current 1 065,” Mnangagwa said.

“In addition, the weekly average of deaths has decreased from 140 to a weekly average of 76.  The marked decline in cases and deaths proved that government’s careful implementation of public health and social measures including lockdowns, in collaboration with all sectors and stakeholders is paying off. I am, therefore, introducing a relaxation of the current level four lockdown to level two.”

Mnangagwa also announced that people entering Zimbabwe from other countries must undergo a COVID-19 PCR test not more than 48 hours from the time of their departure for Zimbabwe.

Under level two lockdown, low-risk sporting activities would be allowed between 8am and 3pm.

Medium-to-high risk sporting activities shall obtain approval beforehand.

“This lockdown relaxation will be reviewed in two weeks. In the meantime, government recognises that the threat of the pandemic still exists, especially in view of the recent identification of a new virus variant by the World Health Organisation,” Mnangagwa said.

“The nation must, therefore, remain vigilant. Law enforcement agents will continue to strengthen enforcement of all recommended COVID-19 regulations whilst the Ministry of Health and Child Care will continue to roll out the COVID-19 to every corner of our country.

“Vaccination is a critical prevention measure.  I, therefore, urge all of us to get vaccinated and continue to adhere to all prevention measures such as washing our hands with soap and running water or sanitising our hands, staying at home, social distancing and avoiding crowds.”

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