More soldiers to fortify lockdown  

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©️  PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa is considering deploying more soldiers to help enforce the national coronavirus lockdown, as public discipline during the current stay-at-home order continues to slide.
Speaking in an interview with the Daily News yesterday, Mnangagwa’s spokesperson George Charamba confirmed that more soldiers were being considered for deployment, especially in residential areas in towns.
This comes as the country is racing against time to test as many people as possible for the lethal coronavirus — ahead of the approaching winter season, which could complicate the management of the global pandemic.
“Presently, there is a greater presence of soldiers, for example, on major roads into Harare and not inside Harare.
“Arterial roads that get into Harare have a large number of soldiers assisting the police. We had not deployed them in residential areas, save for a few during the first few days of the lockdown.
“We now need to revisit that and ensure that they are also present in the residential areas,” Charamba told the Daily News.
Home Affairs minister Kazembe Kazembe also warned that police would not hesitate to introduce more drastic measures to enforce discipline among defiant citizens.
“The war against the invisible enemy called Covid-19 is not yet over. We should not take this pandemic lightly. It does not discriminate on any basis. We are all vulnerable.
“We need to observe the guidelines prescribed by the ministry of Health. We honestly should not need the police to tell us how to stay alive.
“We also do not need police to use force on us to stay indoors to save our own lives,” Kazembe warned.
This comes after Mnangagwa extended the national lockdown by 14 days last weekend, after the country failed to meet the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) conditions for lifting the stay-at-home order.
“Incidents of (local) infection have risen … showing that more and more we are dealing with in-country infections.
“We are also facing a situation where more and more of our citizens are coming back home, including from countries that have Covid-19 infections.
“Guided by realities on the ground, and to allow ourselves leeway to prepare for the worst, government has decided to extend, with immediate effect, the national lockdown by a further 14 days,” Mnangagwa said then.
Meanwhile, national police spokesperson Paul Nyathi has revealed that more people are being arrested for continuing to violate the stay-at-home order.
“The fact that we have so far arrested 11 196 people shows that they are not taking the lockdown seriously, while also putting their health and safety at risk,” he said.
On Wednesday, Zimbabwe registered its fourth death from the pandemic — amid rising national infections which are nearing 30.
The rising infections have led to calls for authorities to ramp up testing to determine the extent of the disease in the country.

 

This week, doctors also called on the government to use the lockdown extension to cover the ground that had been lost thus far to fight Covid-19.
The executive director of Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights, Calvin Fambirai, said the government should learn from the past, where it had failed to take advantage of the initial lockdown period to improve the country’s health infrastructure, to respond appropriately to Covid-19.
“Despite the success witnessed in curbing the importation of cases into the country through ports of entry, we have continued to witness incidences of local transmission.
“The extension of the lockdown must, therefore, be predicated on extensive screening and testing, and the urgent rehabilitation of the existing service delivery infrastructure to increase our preparedness for any massive upsurge in cases of Covid-19,” Fambirai told the Daily News.

 

 

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