Zimbabwe sets February 7 date for schools opening after virus delays, curfew eased

BULAWAYO – Schools will re-open on February 7 in Zimbabwe after a month-long delay, which the government pinned on Covid-19.

Acting health minister Amon Murwira made the announcement on Friday as curfew measures were also relaxed.

Murwira said Zimbabwe had seen a sharp decline in Covid-19 infections “indicating that the fourth wave is at its tail end” and “appears to being brought under control.”

Zimbabwe would remain on alert level two, with five being most severe, coupled with a revision on restrictions, he said.

“The general school calendar starts on February 7, 2022, following one week of finalising all reopening preparations by both school administrators and parents,” Murwira said.

The Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (ZIMSEC) on Thursday said it would release Grade 7 results sometime next week – the real reason teachers’ unions say the government deferred the opening of schools for the first term.

The delay in the release of the results has been blamed on the late sitting of exams due to Covid-19. Marking, according to ZIMSEC, only started on January 3.

Schools will re-open under a threat of industrial action by teachers demanding better pay. A dramatic loss of value by the local currency since schools closed in December has only stirred the rage of unions.

Meanwhile, Murwira announced that a curfew previously starting at 9PM was now being shifted to midnight. It ends at 5.30AM.

Restaurants and bars can open until 10PM, the minister said, with a restriction that they only serve fully vaccinated customers.

A government directive made in December that all arrivals would be required to quarantine for 10 days, except for diplomats, has been lifted although visitors and returning residents must still produce negative Covid-19 test results from 48 hours before departure.

The quarantine directive which forced thousands to cancel travel plans was never implemented.

Masks will remain mandatory, Murwira said.

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