What you need to know:
- Vice President Constantino Chiwenga Saturday said only essential service providers, such as hospitals, pharmacies and supermarkets, will remain open for the next 30 days.
- Earlier, the government said health facilities were overwhelmed by the surge in Covid-19 cases and were turning patients away.
Zimbabwe has imposed a new national lockdown following a surge in Covid-19 cases during the festive season, with authorities warning that health facilities are overwhelmed.
Vice President Constantino Chiwenga Saturday said only essential service providers, such as hospitals, pharmacies and supermarkets, will remain open for the next 30 days.
The southern Africa country has seen daily Covid-19 cases almost double in the past few days, with 401 cases and eight deaths recorded on Saturday.
"In light of the recent surge in Covid-19 cases, stiff lockdown measures are being put in place with immediate effect," said General (Rtd) Chiwenga, who is also the health and child care minister.
"Gatherings are limited to not more than 30 at all funerals. All other gatherings - at weddings, churches, bars, bottle stores, gymnasiums, restaurants etc - are banned for 30 days."
A new curfew will run from 6am to 6pm while intercity travel was banned.
The country has also closed its borders to ordinary travellers, just a month after reopening them following their closure at the onset of the initial Covid-19 lockdown in March.
Only tourist facilities and airports were spared the latest lockdown restrictions.
Earlier, the government said health facilities were overwhelmed by the surge in Covid-19 cases and were turning patients away.
Zimbabwe has been experiencing a marked rise in both coronavirus infections and deaths in the past two months.
As of Saturday, the country had declared a total of 14,591 cases, 11,363 recoveries and 377 deaths. On New Year's Day, Zimbabwe recorded 217 new cases and six deaths.
Nick Mangwana, the government spokesperson, said Zimbabweans must fight the virus at all costs because they might not get treatment if they fall sick.
"We hear the UK is overwhelmed by Covid-19. Well, that's them. They say in South Africa, hospital admission thresholds are now quite high - that's them," Mr Mangwana said on Twitter.
"Let me tell you about our own situation; don't catch the virus if you can avoid it. We are overwhelmed and overrun by this virus."
On Saturday, prominent human rights activist Star Dewah sent an SOS on Twitter for a health facility who handled Covid-19 patients after her relative was turned away from four hospitals in Harare because they were full.
A few hours later, Ms Dewah tweeted that the relative had died.
The government was forced to postpone indefinitely the reopening of schools that had been set for July 4, citing the rising infections.
The learning institutions were closed in March 2020 after the country confirmed its first case of the coronavirus disease.
They reopened in September in a phased approach but the government was under pressure to end the term prematurely after tens of students contracted the coronavirus.
The Zimbabwe national team that is preparing for the upcoming African Nations Championship (Chan) in Cameron was this week forced to break camp after nine players tested positive for Covid-19.