Lack of information breeds lockdown non-compliance

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©️ THE worsening lockdown non-compliance evident in the country is a product of a number of factors, chief among which is the lack of information among citizens — key stakeholders in the success or otherwise of this government prescription aimed at containing the spread of the deadly coronavirus (Covid-19).

When the lockdown began on March 30, the reasons for the restrictions were not made clear to some sections of the population, leading them to conclude that the objectives had nothing to do with them but were rather attempts by a struggling government to divert attention from its economic and political deficiencies.

For instance, widespread demand for fuel and energy challenges would obviously fall given the reduced vehicular traffic as well as industry activity respectively, giving them time to address their procurement inadequacies.

The government’s actions, which are similar to those taking place in the region, are specifically responding to global trends.

Enforcement of the restrictions has not been strict, with many non-essential services workers being allowed through police checkpoints, including some with fake exception letters. Allowing letters issued from all over is also not good enough as a single issuing authority would limit abuse of the facility.

On Day 10 of the lockdown, for example, money changers could be seen in various places in the capital yet police patrols were taking place, something that can only be possible with a citizenry that lacks key information on the epidemic.

Limiting movement would subsequently result in fewer chances of contracting as well as spreading the virus, whose global death toll is inching towards the 100 000 mark. Zimbabwe’s confirmed cases are ridiculously low, something that speaks to the lack of capacity to reach all corners of the country with screening and testing services.

The government has not been forthcoming with timely crucial information as regularly as it should for reasons that are obviously political, leading citizens to either speculate or make their own deductions, most of which are detrimental to the key objective of keeping the incidence of coronavirus as low as possible.

The country is clearly not prepared to deal with coronavirus, a catastrophic situation should the infection figures explode. We have seen private players coming in to help the government in setting up Covid-19 response centres but the majority of those outside the capital lack key equipment like test kits and ventilators which are crucial in the management of those who fall sick.

 

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