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Zimbabwe lifts lockdown for telecommunications

By , Sub Saharan Africa Business, Tech, News and Development Journalist
Zimbabwe , 20 Apr 2020
Zimbabwe has declared telecommunications companies and workers essential and amended lockdown conditions.
Zimbabwe has declared telecommunications companies and workers essential and amended lockdown conditions.

The government of Zimbabwe has amended the country’s initial lockdown regulations after declaring telecommunications companies and workers essential.

The country’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced a two-week extension on existing movement restrictions to 3 May 2020 as the country recorded three Coronavirus (COVID-19)-related deaths and 25 confirmed cases.

In a statutory instrument published today, the Government of Zimbabwe has amended the initial lockdown regulations to include “communication and telecommunication services including the internet, any public or licensed broadcasting services” as well as the “activities of persons such as journalists, newspaper vendors of such services” as essential.

A representative from a telecommunications firm, who spoke to ITWeb Africa under condition of anonymity, said some key employees faced challenges in accessing base stations and other key service centres during the lockdown.

"This is important for the industry because you have to keep explaining to law enforcers whenever teams can’t pass a roadblock to go and carry-out an essential service or even breakdowns as has been the case in the past weeks of lockdown," said the representative.

Certain mobile operators, including Econet Wireless, have kept specific service centres open to cater for SIM card replacement and other limited services.

“Due to the National lockdown our shops are temporarily closed except for Tuesdays and Thursdays when some are open for world remit. Any inconvenience caused is sincerely regretted,” Econet said on Monday.

With the lockdown measures in place, most banks have closed banking halls - although online and mobile banking options have remained operational.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has directed international money transfer agencies to open on selected days to enable locals to receive money from friends and relatives abroad.

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