BILL WATCH 34/2021
[25th May 2021]
Public Health Lock-down Order : Changes Legalised, More or Less
In Bill Watch 33/2021 which we issued yesterday, we noted an error in the latest amendment to the Public Health Lock-down Order and also pointed out that the new lock-down in Kwekwe district had been imposed without lawful authority.
Further amendments have now been published in SI 125A/2021 [link] in order to rectify these defects – unfortunately not entirely successfully.
Quarantining of Visitors and Tourists
The previous amendment to the Lock-down Order left it uncertain where visitors and tourists were to undergo quarantine. Now it has been clarified. So long as they can show they have tested negative for COVID-19 within 48 hours before leaving for Zimbabwe (and if they can’t show that they will be denied entry) they must self-quarantine at home, if they have a home in Zimbabwe, or at a close relative’s home or in a hotel at their own expense.
A new section 26E sets out to legalise the Kwekwe lock-down which was announced last week. It states that Kwekwe district will be subject to special restrictions “for the period ending on the 3rd January, 2021”. This is obviously an error, and presumably the period was supposed to end on the 3rd June because the Vice-President announced last week that Kwekwe would go into a two-week lock-down. Nevertheless the error needs to be corrected quickly to avoid challenges to the lock-down on the ground that it has never legally begun.
Assuming that the lock-down has begun, the restrictions imposed on the inhabitants of Kwekwe are:
- there is a curfew from 7 p.m. every evening to 6 a.m. the following morning
- no visitors are permitted at boarding schools
- at day schools the COVID-19 school protocols must be observed. These are prescribed by enforcement officers [i.e. government or municipal health officials, police officers or members of the Defence Forces] acting on the instructions of the Ministry of Health and Child Care
- all bars, drinking places, beer-halls and bottle stores must be closed
- other businesses can open only between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
- funeral gatherings are limited to 30 persons, and may only take place in the presence of, or under the supervision or guidance of, enforcement officers, and in accordance with instructions given by them
- all other public gatherings are prohibited.
Anyone breaching any of these restrictions will be liable to a fine of up to ZW$800 000 or up to a year in prison.
A consolidated version of the Lock-down Order, showing the latest amendments, can be accessed on the Veritas website [link].