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Full text of Mnangagwa address to the nation on the coronavirus

My Fellow Zimbabweans

In life we all must face problems and challenges which are beyond our making; that have been forced upon us.

mnangagwa
Emmerson Mnangagwa

Currently Covid-19 is no longer a mere challenge in many countries around the world. It is far worse than a mere challenge, an out of control problem, in fact a pandemic that is taking thousands of lives daily.

I say this not to induce fear in your hearts, but that you appreciate the gravity of the situation. Thousands of lives, in some of the most advanced nations in the world; from East to West, have been lost.

We have an opportunity to ensure that this challenge, which currently exists, does not become insurmountable. Many countries tragically reacted too late. And today they are facing the consequences.

As your President, I have chosen to tackle this challenge before it becomes a problem of insurmountable proportions.

I have declared a 21-day lockdown to stop the spread of this virus which has reached our land; the lockdown began today.

During these 21 days, Government will work tirelessly to make sure that we are ready to face all scenarios. We must make sure that our medical teams are equipped and protected, and that our hospitals are prepared. That our citizens are ready.

Let’s be clear, food suppliers and food stores will remain available and open. Medical supplies will remain open and available.

A list of vital industries will ensure that the lights remain on, and that the economy’s heart continues to beat, even if it is at a much slower pace.

I repeat, if you need to leave your homes to buy food and medicines, you will be able to. The security services will be enforcing the lockdown with a listening ear. Their job is to help, to protect and to keep us all safe.

But my Zimbabwean brothers and sisters, all this is in your hands. I know it is not easy.

This 21-day lockdown is not a punishment, it cannot be avoided. It is an opportunity to save lives. We have 21 days right now to save thousands of lives. And how will we save those thousands of lives?

By acting responsibly, and by staying at home. By washing your hands and by keeping at least 2 metres distance from one another.

Those who must work, please work responsibly, keeping your distance wherever necessary. Wear masks and gloves. Wash your hands thoroughly.

I want all of you to spend the next 21 days acting as if you already have the virus, as if YOU are a carrier. Would you want to infect your friends? Would you want to infect your families? Would you want to infect your countrymen?

Of course not. So keep your distance — two metres away from each other. Don’t touch your face. Again . . . Wash your hands. Stay at home!

My Fellow Zimbabweans,

We have been witness to the tragedy unfolding before us, nation after nation. With the virus already here in Zimbabwe, we have no time to lose; we must act now.

For every day we do not act, for every day we continue our lives as normal, the virus will spread, infecting more and more people.

This was not an easy decision to make. But this is the right decision. Our economy will survive. Our economy will recover. But right now, nothing is more dear to me, nothing is more sacrosanct, than the lives of the people of Zimbabwe.

We can emerge from this a strong and healthy nation.

God Bless You!

And God Bless the Nation of Zimbabwe! The Herald

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