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18 Mar 2020 | 01:20 PM UTC

Zimbabwe: Authorities declare state of disaster and ban gatherings of more than 100 people as of March 17

Zimbabwe News Alert

Authorities declare state of disaster and ban gatherings of more than 100 people as of March 17 for 60 days; follow authority directives

TIMEFRAME expected from 3/18/2020, 12:00 AM until 5/20/2020, 11:59 PM (Africa/Harare). COUNTRY/REGION Zimbabwe

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Authorities declared a national state of disaster on Tuesday, March 17, in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As a result, the government has prohibited its citizens from all local and international travel, and banned all gatherings of more than 100 people, including church services, weddings, funerals, and all international sporting events. The Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, scheduled to take place from Tuesday, April 21, through Saturday, April 25, as well as the country's 40th independence celebrations scheduled for Saturday, April 18, have been suspended.

As of Wednesday, March 18, there are no confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country. Further international spread of the virus is expected in the near term.


The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.


To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  •  Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.


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