BILL WATCH 60/2021
[12th August 2021]
Public Health Lock-down Order : Extension of Lock-down
The thirty-second amendment to the Lock-down Order was published on the 11th August, in SI 214 of 2021, and can be accessed on the Veritas website [link]. Its effect is simply to extend the Level IV lock-down until the 24th August. The special lock-downs imposed in Hurungwe, Kariba, Kwekwe and Makonde districts are also extended to the 24th August.
What this means is that, for the duration of the extended lock-down (that is, until the 24th August):
Intercity transport is prohibited throughout the country except for:
- the carriage of staff, goods and equipment needed for essential services
- the carriage of sick persons to hospitals and other health care providers
- travel by foreign diplomats or by foreigners seeking assistance from their countries’ diplomatic missions
- the transport of food, fuel, basic goods and medical supplies
- the carriage of police officers, Defence Force personnel and public health officials, and
- the carriage of staff, goods and equipment needed for the operation of tobacco auction floors.
Schools, colleges, universities and polytechnics are closed, except for:
- institutions providing on-line or distance education, and
- institutions providing medical training or research useful in combating COVID-19.
Other Measures Announced by the Cabinet have Not Yet been Given Legal Effect:
- Opening of Victoria Falls and Kazungula Border Posts: Cabinet agreed on the 27th July that the border posts at Victoria Falls and Kazungula would be opened to tourists who were fully vaccinated. There is nothing to this effect in the latest amendments.
- Opening of churches: At its meeting yesterday the Cabinet announced that churches could allow congregants who had received two vaccine doses to attend services, so long as “all Ministry of Health and Child Care and WHO protocols are adhered to”. This brief announcement leaves some points uncertain:
- How many congregants can attend a church service? Is attendance limited to 50 congregants, as provided by section 5(1)(j) of the Lock-down Order, or can an unlimited number attend?
- What exactly are the protocols that must be adhered to? Presumably the congregants must observe social distancing and have their hands sanitised, but must the church premises be disinfected between services?
- To what extent does the announcement apply to mosques, synagogues and other non-Christian places of worship, and to places where open-air services are held?
When the Lock-down Order is amended to give legal effect to the Cabinet’s announcement – and we hope that will be done very soon – these points will need to be clarified.
A consolidated version of the Lock-down Order, incorporating the latest amendments, can be accessed on the Veritas website [link].