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Zimbabwe’s mth/mth inflation falls to 21.04 % in July

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Inflation

Harare, Aug. 21, 2019 Zimbabwe’s month-on-month inflation rate fell to 21.04 per cent in July compared to 32.96 per cent the previous month as prices of basic goods increased at a slower pace, statistical agency ZIMSTATS said on Wednesday.

Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube on Aug. 1 suspended the publication of year-on-year inflation figures until February 2020 because adoption of a new currency had impacted the base for calculating the consumer price index.

Annual inflation hit 175.66 per cent in June, the highest rate since runaway money-printing and associated hyperinflation forced the country to abandon its currency in 2009. (Reuters/NAN)

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Foreign

Zimbabwe police ban people from traveling into city center to curb spread of COVID-19

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The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) on Tuesday introduced a stricter COVID-19 enforcement regime where many people were barred from entering the city center, as positive cases spiked to 203 from 63 seven days earlier.

Most of the new cases are however imported and local transmissions have remained very low.

Many motorists and passengers using public transport were reportedly turned back home as the police insisted on particular “essential services”, despite some having documents showing that they were also covered under the COVID-19 Level 2 lockdown regulations.

In a message on Twitter, the police said members of the public should observe the regulations in view of the rising number of COVID-19 cases.

The ZRP urges members of the public to observe that the country is still under Level 2 national lockdown in order to manage the COVID-19 pandemic. Only essential services, businesses in the formal commercial and industrial sectors were exempted to operate during this period,” it said.

“The rest of the public should stay at home in order for the nation to curtail the increase in new COVID-19 cases being recorded. Please note that it is not everyone who should be in the Central Business District. Let us all be security and health conscious in view of the increase of COVID-19 cases,” the police said.

Government spokesperson Nick Mangwana also reminded citizens that the country was still in lockdown.

“Government has not pronounced a change in lockdown regulations. We are still on Level 2 lockdown and permitted economic activity should go ahead. Police are only enforcing the pronounced and gazetted Level 2 conditions,” he said on Twitter.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa two weeks ago maintained a Level 2 lockdown for an indefinite period in a bid to cut the spread of the pandemic.

He allowed industry and commerce to reopen under strict health regulations while informal businesses bars and gymnasiums remained closed.

There is also a ban on inter-city and cross-border movement, except transportation of cargo.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Zimbabwe records 26 new COVID-19 cases, raising total number in country to 203

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Zimbabwe recorded 26 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 203.

The number of active cases is 170, deaths remain at four while those who have recovered are 29, the Ministry of Health and Child Care said in a statement Tuesday.

According to the Ministry, 25 of the new cases are Zimbabweans who returned from neighboring South Africa and Botswana while one case is a local transmission and a contact of a known confirmed case.

The country has conducted a total of 46,021 tests for COVID-19 since the first case was recorded in March.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Zimbabwe’s leading hospitality group re-opens hotels as lockdown eases

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Zimbabwe’s leading hospitality group, African Sun Limited (ASL), has re-opened some of its hotels as the country relaxes COVID-19 lockdown to allow some sectors to resume operations.

The group, in its latest trading update released on Monday, said in line with the relaxation of the lockdown measures imposed by the government, the group is taking the decisive action to protect the core of its business until travel resumes.

The southern African country has been under a COVID-19 induced lockdown since March 30, forcing the hotel group to temporarily close all of its 11 hotels and two casinos.

Since end of April, the restrictions have eased, allowing some businesses to resume operations at reduced capacity.

“Taking into account the global trends, management expects international business to gradually resume starting from July as airlines rebuild their networks.

“The group implemented various health and safety measures as guided by World Health Organisation, Inter-Continental Hotels Group and government at its hotels,” the group said.

The group expects domestic business largely driven by government and NGOs programs centered on COVID-19 responses.

ASL is a Zimbabwe-based hospitality management company which operates in the hospitality and leisure industry through a number of hotels, resorts and casinos in Zimbabwe and South Africa.

(XINHUA)

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Entertainment

Zimbabwean film industry makes Netflix debut with ‘Cook off’

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Zimbabwean film, Cook Off, a romance about a struggling single mother who finds love during a cooking competition, premiered on Netflix on Monday, a debut that its makers hope will propel the country’s small film sector to global audiences.

Zimbabwe often grabs headlines for its economic woes and political crises, but producer Joe Njagu said the film sought to project a different image.

“I wanted the world to know that there is more to Zimbabwe than what they hear. We also fall in love, we also enjoy nice food. We also have very nice stories,” said Njagu.

With a production budget of only $8,000, Njagu said he used his personal relationships with the cast and crew to sign deferred contracts and to bring on board studio owners and equipment hire companies without making immediate payment.

The low budget film was shot in 2017 but very few people in Zimbabwe had heard of it, even after it won several awards at international film festivals, including in the Netherlands, Durban and United States.

Everything changed two and half months ago, when Netflix, the world’s leading entertainment streaming service with 189 million paid viewers, came knocking on the door.

“It’s a big ‘hello, this is Zimbabwe we are here’. It’s an opportunity for us to introduce our content to the rest of the world. It’s really a big deal for us,” Njagu said.

He would not say how much the Netflix deal was worth but that it was enough to pay the deferred expenses and make a profit.

The film creators are now in talks with Netflix about possible future productions while television stations in Europe, Africa, United States also want to air Cook Off.

“It’s a different story, it’s no longer deferred payments, it’s now commissioned work, it’s now getting budgets to do productions,” he said.

“We can’t fall short anymore. This is the world stage.”


Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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Foreign

Zimbabwe steps up security measures at quarantine centers, border areas

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Zimbabwe will tighten up security at COVID-19 isolation centers across the country to prevent quarantined returnees from escaping, a senior government official has said.

Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Monica Mutsvangwa told the Sunday Mail that government will tighten up security, especially in the country’s border areas to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

“It has been the government’s position that security be heightened so that we reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Government is even working on introducing drones so that we increase security measures in border areas,” Mutsvangwa said.

More than 118 people have fled from a coronavirus quarantine centers in Zimbabwe, sparking fears of a potential coronavirus outbreak.

The escapees were citizens who had recently returned from abroad, mainly from Botswana and South Africa.

Police spokesperson Paul Nyathi urged the community to report returnees who evade the COVID-19 screening processes.

“We appeal to the community to put their safety, health and security first, and report all returnees who evade the required COVID-19 screening processes to curtail the spread of the pandemic,” said Nyathi.

Zimbabwe had as of Saturday reported 174 COVID-19 positive cases.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

COVID-19 cases surge to 174 in Zimbabwe

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The number of COVID-19 positive cases in Zimbabwe rose to 174 as 14 more cases have been confirmed, the health ministry has said.

In its latest update Sunday morning, the Ministry of Health and Child Care said of the 14 new cases were seven returnees and seven local transmissions.

“Fourteen cases tested positive for COVID-19 today. These include seven returnees: South Africa (5), Botswana (1) United Kingdom (1) and seven local cases who are isolated. The seven local cases being reported today and the two mentioned in yesterday’s report are contacts of known confirmed cases,” the ministry said.

Zimbabwe has so far conducted 44,635 COVID-19 tests of which there have been 29 recoveries and four deaths since the onset of the pandemic on March 20.

Harare province leads with 81 cases, followed by Masvingo Province with 27 and Bulawayo Province with 18.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Zimbabwe COVID-19 cases rise to 160

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The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Zimbabwe has risen to 160 after 11 more tested positive Friday.

The latest cases are seven returnees from South Africa and two from Botswana while the other two are local transmissions, according to an update from the Ministry of Health and Child Care on Saturday.

Zimbabwe has seen a spike in COVID-19 positive cases in recent days with returnees accounting for most of them.

The country currently has 127 active cases, 29 recoveries and four deaths since the onset of the pandemic on March 20.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Zimbabwe’s inflation soars 756 percent in April

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Zimbabwe’s annual inflation for April stood at 765.57 percent, gaining 89.18 percentage points from the previous month, the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) said on Saturday in a statement.

Inflation stood at 676.39 percent in March.

Zimstat said month-on-month inflation in April was 17.64 percent, having shed 8.95 percentage points from March.

Exchange rate instability, driven by the parallel market, has been pushing up the prices of goods and services in Zimbabwe over the past months.

Zimbabwe has faced a prolonged shortage of foreign currency, which has in turn affected essential imports such as fuel and medical drugs.

(XINHUA)

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Foreign

Interview: Zimbabwe backs China’s new national security law for Hong Kong, senior official says

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Zimbabwe reaffirmed its adherence to the one-China policy and backed China‘s top legislature’s decision to establish and improve the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) to safeguard national security, a senior official has said.

Zimbabwean Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa told Xinhua on Thursday that the new law will help consolidate Hong Kong‘s security and stability, and protect it from Western interference.

Western countries that are obsessed with interventions always want to see people divided, Mutsvangwa said. “We are very much for the one-China policy and that is what we support as a country.”

“We know the suffering when people are divided. We know China‘s policy toward Hong Kong has actually brought the people together as one and helped achieve the economic development,” she added.

The minister said foreign intervention aimed at destabilizing Hong Kong was a “disgrace,” which should be discouraged.

“Where there is unity, where there is peace. There is certainly development and so we support that law. We only hope that this foreign intervention does not continue to happen, because all that it does actually bring disunity and discord in a country and that affects the rate of development which China is moving at,” she said.

(XINHUA)

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