by Tichaona Chifamba
HARARE, June 24 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe has been hit hard by COVID-19 infections, with 1,285 new infections recorded between Tuesday and Wednesday.
Seven courthouses throughout the country have been closed down to allow for fumigation and contact tracing after some users tested positive for the virus.
Wednesday recorded 766 cases, the highest number of infections since February, amid fears that it is now a matter of time before a third wave is officially declared.
The country has been witnessing a surge in infections during the past few weeks -- with 2,924 cases reported for the seven days up to Wednesday -- prompting the government to defer the reopening of schools by two weeks while it assesses the situation.
At least 52 people succumbed to the virus during the same period.
The government has blamed the latest increase in infections on complacency, accusing members of the public of failing to adhere to COVID-19 prevention protocols.
Secretary of the Judicial Service Commission Walter Chikwana said Wednesday that the closure was to facilitate fumigation of the facilities.
The affected courthouses are Chinhoyi Magistrates' Court, Karoi Magistrates' Court, Kariba Magistrates' Court, Bindura Magistrates' Court, Mt. Darwin Magistrates' Court, Mutare Magistrates' Court and the Mutare High Court.
"We are currently in the process of consulting with the Ministry of Health and Child Care on the way forward," Chikwana said.
He advised litigants and legal practitioners who may want to file any papers at these courts to get in touch with the Registrar, Resident Magistrate, Additional Sheriff or Assistant Master on duty.
"The public will be advised when the concerned courts will be reopening," said Chikwana.
Zimbabwe has put four districts and towns under localized lockdowns while more than 10 other areas have been declared hotspots.
Although the police have been warning that they will arrest those who violate COVID-19 prevention protocols, it is business as usual in traditionally crowded areas like marketplaces where people interact without wearing face masks.
Bars, which are supposed to be closed down, continue to operate clandestinely, while there is overcrowding in public transport vehicles.
Some people in rural areas also take COVID-19 as a pandemic which affects urban areas only and do not take any precautions at all to prevent infection.
As of Wednesday, Zimbabwe had recorded 43,480 cases, 1,692 deaths and 37,477 recoveries.
At least 715,056 people had received their first COVID-19 vaccine doses, while 451,793 had completed the course of vaccination. Enditem