By Habakkuk Trust
The relaxation of lockdown regulations threatens to reverse the gains made by the Zimbabwean government in combating the Covid-19 virus.
The government of Zimbabwe enacted Statutory Instrument 99 of 2020 in line with Presidential proclamation on the easing Covid-19 national lockdown regulations. Provisions of the statute make the wearing of masks mandatory outside the home. Other provisions have seen the relaxation of essential services to cover other formal business units that are critical in local economic development.
Bulawayo Central Business District yesterday was flooded with scores of people who took advantage of the relaxation of regulations to conduct their business. There was a significant increase in vehicular movement. The same was witnessed today.
The first day of level two was marked with long winding queues at ZUPCO terminals raising fears of an implosion of the COVID-19 community spread. The reduced visibility of lockdown enforcement officers contributed to the disregard for social distancing in bus and shop queues.
Most of the people in the queues were seen wearing masks without observing social distancing rules. The mandatory wearing of masks has seemingly taken precedence over other Covid-19 preventative measures.
In some areas in the Western Suburbs, residents were allowed entry into shops without masks. Some shops in Mpopoma were implementing a ‘no mask no entry policy resulting in some residents exchanging masks to gain entry into shops.
The correct use of masks and adherence to social distancing are one of the key measures in preventing the spread of Covid-19.
Habakkuk Trust, therefore, urges the Government of Zimbabwe to reconsider relaxation of Covid -19 regulations by:
1. Remodeling travel restrictions to suite phase two provisions.
2. Enhancing clarity on the definitions of formal businesses.