Boarders must stay at school during Easter, parents can’t visit, Mnangagwa decrees

Thousands of school children in boarding schools will be prevented from returning home for the Easter holidays, and relatives also cannot visit them as part of efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19, President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced on Tuesday.

Zimbabwe’s schools made a delayed and staggered re-opening on March 15 and March 22 after closing last December over virus concerns.

Teachers’ unions had proposed an opening after the holidays to allow learners to be with their families during the Easter holidays.

Bars and night clubs would remain closed, Mnangagwa decreed in a statement, while church gatherings and funerals must observe an upper limit of 50 people.

Zimbabweans are also “encouraged to defer unnecessary travel outside localities of residence,” Mnangagwa added.

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The virus had killed at least 1,520 people from 36,839 infections on Monday, according to the ministry of health.

Just over 80,000 of Zimbabwe’s 15 million people had received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Mnangagwa said travellers arriving at ports of entry without Covid-19 test certificates issued within the previous 48 hours would be forced to quarantine for 10 days at designated hotels at own cost. Visitors with negative certificates must quarantine at their homes or hotels for 10 days before venturing out, he added.

Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe would open its vaccination programme to volunteering foreign tourists – but they would have to pay for the jab, without stating the cost.

Vaccination for volunteering Zimbabweans will be open during the Easter period, Mnangagwa said, after Zimbabwe on Tuesday received a further consignment of just over one million Sinovac vaccine doses from China, a day after India delivered 35,000 shots of its Covaxin vaccine.

The latest deliveries bring to about 1.5 million vaccine doses received to date.