Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has suspended all public gatherings including church services and sports events after declaring the novel coronavirus a national disaster.

Unconfirmed reports have also indicated that the country has just recorded its first case of coronavirus.

The unconfirmed report follows a headline by a South African news network ENCA which seems to suggest that a positive case has been confirmed.

However by late afternoon the government had notified that there was no case of coronavirus confirmed as of 17 March 2020.

The deadly disease has already claimed 7, 019 lives and infected 173, 244 others worldwide.

President Mnangagwa declared the coronavirus pandemic a national disaster and immediately postponed the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) and the 40th Independence Celebrations which were scheduled for Bulawayo in April.

Funds initially budgeted for these events will now be diverted to the fight against Covid-19, iHarare reports.

The president said that all public gatherings of more than 100 people are suspended for the next 60 days as part of the preventative measures.

The President also announced that Zimbabwe will not impose a travel ban, insisting that all of Zimbabwe’s ports of entry and borders will remain open because none of the country’s neighbours have closed their borders to Zimbabwe.

The government has called on all foreign traveller intending to visit the country to consider postponing their trips for the next 30 days.  Zimbabweans have also been encouraged not to travel.

However, President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government has refused to close schools despite concerns from teachers. President Mnangagwa said the decision had been made to keep the schools open in light of the fact that there are only 2 weeks left till the end of the first term.

Teachers had called on the government to close all schools over fears of spreading the deadly coronavirus.

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