The Reserve Bank on Saturday urged the public to use electronic banking services more, and financial institutions to make these more readily available and functional, as part of precautionary measures against Covid-19.
The country reported its first case of Covid-19 on Friday, a foreign national who had recently returned to Zimbabwe from Britain where he is suspected to have been infected.
The government has announced stringent measures to combat the deadly disease, including shutting down all of the country’s small border entry points, and schools, colleges and universities.
It has also banned large public gatherings of more than 100 people, and introduced tight testing and monitoring for Covid-19, especially at ports of entry.
The Reserve Bank urged the public to minimise visits to banking halls, and instead use electronic banking services more to avoid spreading Covid-19 or being infected by it.
It said it was working with the country’s entire financial sector to ensure electronic banking services were available more, and functional at all times for the convenience of the public.
“As the public is now well aware, on 17 March 2020, government declared the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic a national disaster. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to advance across the world, disrupting traditional provision of financial services,” the bank’s head, John Mangudya, said.
“In order to ensure that banking and payment services continue to be available at all times, while promoting crowd containment and social distancing, financial service providers should ensure uninterrupted access to online banking and payment services including point of sale, international payments, real time gross settlement, mobile banking, mobile money payments and remittance services,” he said.
Large crowds often congregate at banking halls in Zimbabwe daily in search of cash, which is in short supply. This, health authorities have warned, could be fertile breeding grounds for Covid-19.
“The banking and transacting public is encouraged to optimise use of available electronic and online banking services which remain the safest and most secure forms of transacting,” Mangudya said. – New Ziana