Zimbabwe has barred civil servants who have not gotten a Covid-19 vaccine from reporting to work with immediate effect.
Information Minister Monica Mutsvangwa on Tuesday said the Cabinet had agreed that only workers who have taken the Covid-19 vaccine will be allowed to report for duty.
Further, only vaccinated people will be allowed to attend church gatherings and sit in at restaurants.
The measures are part of a plan to open up economic and social activity following a third wave of Covid-19, which has been described by health experts as the worst since the outbreak started last year.
“Pursuant to the previous announcement that all civil servants should be vaccinated, Cabinet further resolved that no unvaccinated civil servants will be allowed to come to work,” Mrs Mutsvangwa told journalists.
“While all other gatherings shall not exceed 100 persons, with regards to churches, Cabinet has resolved that only vaccinated congregants can attend and should be limited to 50 percent of the holding capacity of the church.”
1.9 million Zimbabweans had been fully vaccinated as of September 13. The country plans to vaccinate at least 10 million people to reach herd immunity.
It is not clear how many of the 300,000 civil servants are vaccinated.
The stance by the government to force all its workers to get the Covid-19 vaccine has inspired similar action from the private sector with several companies already barring unvaccinated employees from their premises.
On Tuesday, the High Court in Harare refused to hear an urgent application by the Zimbabwe Congress of Unions (ZCTU), the largest labour federation in the country, seeking to stop companies from barring unvaccinated workers from reporting to work.
The ZCTU said there was no provision under the country’s statutes providing for compulsory vaccination.
Judge Emilia Muchawa ruled that the union had failed to justify why the case should be heard on an urgent basis considering that the companies cited in the application issued the directives as far back as July.
“The certificate of urgency on record is silent on the delay in acting from around July 22, when all but one of the respondents issued their staff notices,” Justice Muchawa ruled.
“It does not mention any dates relating to when the cause of action was complete and the need to act therefore arose.
“This irreparable prejudice is merely speculative as nothing is alleged about what happened to employees after the deadlines came and passed before the lodging of the application.”