Lockdown intensification a welcome development


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By Joyce Mukucha

Scores of people have welcomed the decision by the government to intensify the lockdown following a new wave of COVID-19 pandemic that has seen a surge in the number of cases of positive cases and deaths.

Jeremiah Simukai of Budiriro 2 in Harare praised the government for the move to intensify the lockdown.

“Zimbabweans are by nature very complacent. If you go to Mbare Fruits and Vegetable Market, for example, people will be buying and selling without putting on masks. On the ZUPCO buses, no physical distancing is observed and that’s a recipe for disaster,” Simukai said.

Bruce Murombedzi of Epworth said the decision to suspend and trim gatherings in churches and other public places is a welcome development.

“It does not make sense to congregate in large numbers in churches or beerhalls and come together again to bury our loved ones after they would have succumbed to COVID-19. The lockdown is necessary and should be intensified when the need arises,” Morombedzi said.

Tedros Adhanom, the World Health Organisation Director-General said, “We are asking everyone to treat the decision about where they go, what they do, who they meet, as life-and-death decisions – because they are.”

Following the new lockdown restrictions announced by the Government in the wake of the spike in COVID-19 cases across the country, Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) has with immediate effect temporarily put all cricket activities on hold.

“This is a very challenging situation, but ZC’s aim is to reschedule all the affected events and fixtures – including the elite men’s domestic T20 competition which was scheduled to begin this Monday – for them to be played as soon as it is deemed safe to do so.,” Zimbabwe Cricket said in a statement.

The government of Zimbabwe has intensified lockdown restriction measures following the surge of Covid-19 cases during the festive season that saw 1, 342 cases and 29 deaths being recorded in a week representing the highest number recorded so far.

The number of Covid-19 cases became almost double in two months from 8374 from November 1 to 14084 to date.

As of 1 January 2021, the cumulative number of Covid-19 cases in Zimbabwe has reached 14084 with 369 deaths recorded.

In a statement issued on the 2nd of December 2021, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga said the Government has intensified the testing and patient care throughout all the provinces.

“In light of the recent surge of Covid-19 cases, the following stiff lockdown measures are being put in place with immediate effect.

“Gatherings are reduced to not more than 30 people at all funerals. All gatherings at churches, weddings, bars, bottle stores, gymnasiums, and restaurants among others are banned for 30 days,” the statement reads.

Only restaurants, bars, and bottle stores serving hotel residents will be allowed to operate. Tourist facilities and national parks, the Government pointed out, will operate as before subject to the usual health precautions.

The existing Covid-19 preventive health measures, Government said, will be strictly enforced. These include wearing face masks, social distancing, hand sanitisation, and temperature checks and offenders will be prosecuted.

“Only essential services are to remain open such as hospitals, pharmacies, and supermarkets with only essential staff allowed to come to work. “

The above services will only be open at 8 am and close at 3 pm and will be subject to a curfew that will start at 6 pm and end at 6 am.

The government added that of the other commercial services, only Part 4 lockdown order services such as mining, manufacturing, and agriculture will operate as before.

“Other commercial services specified on Part 5 of the lockdown order that is to say all formal businesses and registered informal traders are suspended from Tuesday 5 January 2021 for 30 days. Interprovincial and inter City transport services are restricted only to essential services and part 4 commercial services.”

The Government stressed that people must stay at home save for buying food and medicines or transporting sick relatives. Other exceptions are as specified in the lockdown order.

Pertaining to schools, only examination classes are to open for now. Crossboaders are stopped forthwith save for commercial and transit cargo related to essential and critical services.

It has been highlighted that air transportation remains unhindered a d will continue as before with arrivals and returning residents being required to present Covid-19 certificates.

“As for land access, only returning residents and essential service drivers will be admitted subject to presentation of Covid-19 free certificates. These certificates must have been issued at least 48 hours before departure.”