Reports surfaced on Friday that Zimbabwe police had issued a ban on sale of beer under lockdown rules to help contain the coronavirus pandemic. The move attracted lots of social media criticism.
But late Friday, state-run Herald newspaper reported that police had reversed the earlier statement banning alcohol sales saying supermarkets and registered bottle stores can now continue selling beer on condition it is consumed off the premises.
In a statement, national police national spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi warned drinkers against gathering outside their homes.
Meanwhile, African leaders have been holding virtual meetings to put together a continental response to the pandemic which has seen its statistics – cases, deaths, recoveries – growing in the last two weeks.
Rwandan president Paul Kagame called it a “productive conference call chaired by AU Chair President Cyril Ramaphosa,” according to him, the discussions centred on the need to speak with a common voice and seek Africa’s best interest.
“We discussed the need for Africa to stand together, speak with one voice and work through our institutions to mobilise resources and harmonise the support from international partners. Thank you to initiatives by African institutions such as African Development Bank and Africa Exim Bank for their support
“The meeting stressed the urgency & need to materialise all commitments swiftly and flexibly. Through coordinated action, we can succeed in mitigating the health and economic impact of COVID-19 on our population.
“The loss of and damage to life and economy globally and particularly in Africa is colossal….and so must be the amounts of energy and financial package(s) to bring things back to normal and beyond,” Kagame wrote on Twitter.
Some African leaders who participated included Senegal’s Macky Sall, Kenya’s Uhuru Kenyatta, Zimbabwe’s Emmerson Mnangagwa, DRC’s Felix Tshisekedi, Mali’s Ibrahim Boubakar Keita, Egypt’s Abdel Fatteh Al-Sisi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
The African Union Commission chief Moussa Faki Mahamat and WHO boss, Tedros Ghebereyesus were also part of the meeting.
“We were joined later by President Emmanuel Macron, a good partner for Africa,” Kagame added.