Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa extended a nationwide lockdown to fight the new coronavirus by two more weeks and announced a $720 million (Ksh77.2 billion) stimulus package for distressed companies, most which will be allowed to reopen on Monday.
President Mnangangwa’s first announced a three-week lockdown in March and then extended it, prior to the latest extension. The lockdown has shuttered an economy struggling with acute shortages of foreign currency, food, electricity and medicines.
According to a Reuters report, informal markets – where more than 80% of Zimbabweans earn their living – will remain shut, while big businesses will reopen under supervision.
Public gatherings of more than 50 people and the use of public taxis will remain suspended and schools will remain closed.
Mnangangwa said the (Ksh77.2 billion), which is just more than a quarter of this year’s national budget, would also benefit smaller businesses which are hardest hit by the lockdown.
“The package is proportionate to the disruption the virus has caused to the national economy,” he said in a televised speech.
Zimbabwe has recorded 40 cases of the new coronavirus and four deaths so far.