Public ignoring Covid-19 regulations

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EDITOR — The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) continues to receive numerous reports from its Long Term Observers (LTOs) across the country of members of the public who are not maintaining the required social distance, not wearing face masks or washing/sanitising their hands as recommended.

Reports from Glen View North, Chitungwiza North, Harare East, Kuwadzana East, Zengeza East, Chipinge Central, Chipinge West, Makoni South and Redcliff indicate that most people were congregating at water distribution points, church gatherings, shopping complexes without maintaining social distance and the majority did not wear masks.

Funeral wakes attended by over 50 people were reported in Makoni South, Buhera West, Uzumba and Chiwundura.
What is of concern is that stipulated health protocols were mostly not adhered to at the funeral wakes, with mourners not observing physical distancing, not wearing masks and not sanitising hands.

Such behaviour continues to endanger the lives of the mourners and members of the public that they get into contact with should there be an outbreak of Covid-19 at such gatherings.

The behaviour of citizens noted above continues to erode efforts to flatten the curve and thus put additional pressure on the already overburdened health infrastructure.

Zesn received more reports of increased patrols by security personnel to enforce the lockdown and recently announced curfew.
Those flouting prescribed health regulations such as wearing face masks in public and observation of social distance were arrested.

There were also reports of increased presence of security personnel on roads leading into towns and cities.
Such reports were received from LTOs in Bulawayo South, Luveve, Chitungwiza North, Harare East, Mufakose, St Mary’s, Zengeza East, Mazoe Central, Muzarabani South, Rushinga, Mutoko North, Mudzi South, Hurungwe Central, Magunje, Bubi, Beitbridge East, Gokwe-Nembudziya, Kwekwe Central, Mbizo and Silobela.

Overall there were positive reports regarding members of the public observing the 18:00hours to 06:00hours curfew.
However, it seemed informal traders and their clients were not observing the stipulated health protocols, including observing physical distance. For instance informal trading sites like Glen View complex and Tichagarika Business Centre in Glen View North Constituency were generally overcrowded.

In Glen View South the police engaged in several running battles with vendors in Glen View 1. It was also reported that some of the vendors threw stones at law enforcement officers who were trying to disperse them.

In Chipinge Central running battles between vendors and law enforcement officers were also reported.
In Chikomba Central some police details were reported to have assaulted people who were loitering at Masasa shopping centre.

Members of the public who did not have exemption letters authorising them to travel were not permitted by the police to pass through roadblocks while Zupco conductors barred them from boarding buses.

These reports were received from Mpopoma-Pelandaba-Matshobana, Masvingo Central, Kwekwe Central, Mbizo, Guruve South and Mufakose constituencies.

People usually resort to hitchhiking whenever they fail to access official public transport.

Unregistered transport operators are taking advantage of these transport challenges to ferry stranded passengers and in most instances carry more people than those specified by the manufacturer.

In such instances, Zesn has received reports of security personnel assaulting both the drivers and passengers using such vehicles.
Such offenders risk not only their health and that of the passengers, but also having their vehicles impounded as the recently promulgated Statutory Instrument 186 of 2020 authorises law enforcement officers to impound public transport vehicles being used to breach coronavirus lockdown restrictions.

 

– ZESN

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