Tighten lockdown again, govt warned  

Mugove Tafirenyika

THERE are renewed calls for authorities to reimpose a tighter national coronavirus lockdown following a worrying surge in the number of locally-transmitted cases in the country, the Daily News reports.
This comes as Zimbabwe recorded 98 new cases of people infected with the disease on Wednesday — its single biggest figure in a day since the country reported its first case in March.
In addition, nine people have so far succumbed to the deadly virus, which has left nearly 900 others infected.
Yesterday, the president of the Zimbabwe Nurses Association (Zina), Enock Dongo, said the nation could not afford to copy what other countries were doing in terms of relaxing their lockdowns — because their circumstances were different.
“Government needs to rethink its Covid-19 strategy. We need to go back to full-scale lockdown for about 21 days or more.
“We cannot afford to go by what other countries are doing. As it is, 18 nurses in Bulawayo tested positive and imagine who else besides colleagues and patients have they met?” he told the Daily News.
“Countries that have relaxed their lockdowns make sure that health officials do not go back home where they can meet with the public, and they also don’t use public transport.
“We cannot afford that. Let us fully lock down the country and start doing mass testing and massive contact tracing, otherwise we will perish,” Dongo warned further.
The secretary-general of the Senior Hospital Doctors Association (SHDA), Arron Musara, also observed that authorities were no longer enforcing coronavirus regulations effectively.
“There is scope for the government to put in place new strict measures given the fact that we are experiencing a spike in Covid-19 cases.
“What is worrying the most is that there is an increase in local transmissions.
“Also very worrying is the fact that the government is failing to implement the few restrictions that have been left in place, including the putting on of face masks and practicing social distancing,” Musara told the Daily News.
“When you move around in the communities where they gather, such as in market places, you realise a significant number of them have no face masks.
“They don’t practice social distancing and that is a recipe for disaster.
“So, before we even talk about maximising the lockdown, we have to be able to implement what is supposed to be implemented now.
“There is definitely reason to think around the issue of going back to square one in terms of restrictions,” the worried Musara


On her part, the director for Epidemiology and Disease Control in the Ministry of Health, Portia Manangazira, said all that was needed to combat the spread of coronavirus was for people to comply with existing regulations.
“Unfortunately, it now appears as if we are dealing with kindergarten children when we’re talking about adult citizens. All we need to do is to comply with the current measures.
“People must just put on their masks, not only because they are approaching a roadblock, but because it is the right thing to do while in public,” she said.
Meanwhile, Health and Child Care deputy minister John Mangwiro told the Daily News yesterday that the government would strengthen preventive measures to combat the spread of the virus.
“We are going to continue asking the population to put on their masks, wash their hands and continue observing social distancing.
“Local transmission is a worry to us and we are trying our best to improve it. In terms of going back to level one of the lockdown … we will first go down and see our modalities.
“We will do the correct thing to make sure Zimbabweans are safe,” Mangwiro said.

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